GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Grand Rapids Police Department is urging anyone who knows anything about four Saturday shootings, two of which proved fatal, to come forward.
The homicides happened early Saturday. In the first one around 2 a.m., a man was shot in the area of Ionia Avenue SW and Shelby Street. He died at the hospital. Family and friends identified him to News 8 Sunday as Markese Boyd, 29.
The second homicide happened around 3:20 a.m. in the area of Diamond Avenue SE and Sigsbee Street. The victim, who was shot multiple times, also died at the hospital. His name hasn’t been released.
The deaths bring Grand Rapids’ total number of homicides for the year to 13, four more than the city saw in all of 2018 and even with the numbers from 2017 and 2016.
“It was a senseless murder and we have that all the time here in Grand Rapids,” Robert Boyd, Markese Boyd’s uncle, told News 8 Sunday evening. “It just hurt me because I didn’t think that anything like that would happen. And it’s so hard for me to deal with, but when God calls you to come home, you got to go. But that was uncalled for, what happened with him.”
Markese Boyd’s family said he was a kind person who was known for his musical talents. He played piano and drums for several local churches.
“He had potential to be someone and it just so happened that his life was cut short,” Robert Boyd said of his nephew.
He said the death is especially hard on their family because Markese Boyd’s mother died in a similar way in 1996. She was also 29.
“I believe that she welcomed him home and I think that they’re together now,” a tearful Boyd said.
GRPD released a statement Sunday saying cooperation from witnesses and victims in all four Saturday shootings was “minimal.”
As of Sunday night, no arrests had been made in any of the shootings, including the two nonfatal shootings Saturday night. GRPD said it will keep “working diligently” to find the people responsible and bring the affected families “some sense of justice.”
“These crimes are completely unacceptable in our community,” GRPD Chief Eric Payne said in a statement. “Our agency will continue to address this violence, and investigate it thoroughly, but we can’t do it alone.”
Police urged anyone with information about any of the shootings to call them at 616.456.3400 or Silent Observer at 616.774.2345.
Community leaders like Kent County Commissioner Robert S. Womack, who knew Markese Boyd, are also asking people to speak up.
“I hope the code of silence in our community that makes young people feel at rest that they can kill in front of people and nobody will say anything, I hope that will end. I hope we can break that silence,” Womack said.
Boyd’s family said they hope justice is served and that police will crack down on guns.
“Whoever did it, I hope they’ll be caught and I hope they’re given justice for what they did,” his uncle said.
A GoFundMe account has been set up to help cover funeral expenses for Boyd.