GRPD hopes public can provide homicide clues

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Nearly a month since a 60-year-old man died in a random shooting on Grand Rapids’ northeast side, police say they have some solid leads in their investigation — but they are hoping the public can help provide some of the missing pieces of the puzzle.

Mathews was with a large group of people gathered at his apartment complex around 2:30 a.m. Sept. 8 at the Creston Plaza Apartments on Clancy Avenue NE south of Leonard Street when shots rang were fired. Witnesses saw a car speeding away, but police do not believe it was a drive-by shooting. Matthews was rushed to the hospital, where he later died.

“He was truly an innocent victim. There’s no indication that he was any part of what was transpiring prior to this event and just sad all the way around. He and his family did not deserve any of this,” Grand Rapids Police Department Sgt. John Wittkowski said.

Mathews was a man known for his devotion to his family and his kindness, so for his family, his slaying was beyond shocking.

“Jeffrey was a family person, he loved his family,” brother Mike Mathews told News 8 the day after the shooting. “He’s a good person. I know people say that about their family but he really is a good person. Never hurt no one, never been in trouble and do anything for anyone.”

Mathews’ is among 13 homicides in Grand Rapids so far this year, three of which have led to charges.

“It’s another example of the violence we unfortunately see on a day-to-day basis but with cooperation (from the public), our success rate (in solving crimes) goes up,” Wittkowski said.

Silent Observer announced a $2,500 reward for information leading to the killer.

“It can be anecdotal, it can be second hand, maybe they heard it in passing, maybe it’s a Facebook post or a chat message. Any information whatsoever would be helpful,” Wittkowski said.

Often, information about what happened before and after the actual incident can help to put together the circumstantial case necessary to get a conviction.

In this case, police are getting cooperation from witnesses and Mathew’s family is seeking justice.

“The chances are much greater than when we have absolutely no involvement, no witnesses and, I hate to say this, people just don’t care, and those are the saddest cases of all,” Wittkowski said.

Anyone with information can call Silent Observer at 616.774.2345. If you wish to talk to police directly, call:

  • Sgt. John Purlee 616.456.3343 
  • Det. Adam Baylis 616.456.3648 
  • Det. Kelli Braate 616.456.4548 
  • Det. Jim Jorgensen 616.456.4151

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