GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Police in Grand Rapids and Wyoming are investigating several large, unruly parties that ended in gunfire over the last month.
It’s unclear whether the events were organized by the same promoters, but police hope the pop-up parties won’t become a trend.
On Monday, News 8 reported a gathering that occurred over the July Fourth weekend on Bridge Street NW near the old Kale’s Korner Bar.
A viewer sent the newsroom a social media post that included surveillance video of a barrage of gunshots after 2 a.m. Sunday.
No one was hit, but a neighbor estimated he heard roughly 40 rounds.
Earlier in the weekend, some of the same revelers broke into a vacant storefront on Bridge Street that used to house a Mayan ice cream shop.
The gathering, which neighbors described as either a bizarre block party or illegal rave, lasted until the wee morning hours Saturday and Sunday.
The bash ended when the gunfire scattered partygoers.
3 SHOT AMID JUNE 12 GATHERING AT GR PARK
Three weeks earlier and one mile to the northeast across the Grand River, gunfire erupted amid another large, rowdy crowd. Three people were hit and injured.
“Forensic personnel located over 50 shell casings at the scene, all coming from various types of firearms, including handguns and rifles,” a Grand Rapids Police Department spokesperson wrote about the Sixth Street incident in a news release. “The investigation also concluded that an errant round fired at the scene entered a room window in a nearby hotel, while the room was occupied. No one in the room was injured.”
PERSON SHOT IN ARM AT JUNE 6 PARTY IN WYOMING
On June 6, a gathering of 100 or so people in an office building and warehouse on Roger B. Chaffee Boulevard SE in Wyoming also ended in gunshots.
“When our officers got there… they found a lot of people, a lot of cars, and a lot of people trying to leave the area,” Lt. Eric Wiler of the Wyoming Department of Public Safety said.
Wiler said a victim showed up later at an area hospital with a gunshot wound to the arm.
The organizers of the party allegedly rented the space, apparently from a tenant who was later evicted by the property owner.
“It sounds like (the party) was organized through social media and the invites went out through social media. The participants then would have to pay the organizer to get the location (of the party),” explained Wiler, who encouraged anyone with information about the event to contact Wyoming DPS at 616.530.7300.
“We’re still trying to identify people who were there,” Wiler continued. “It was kind of an unusual event for us and we haven’t seen it since. We’re hoping it doesn’t become a trend.”
Grand Rapids police hope it doesn’t either.
GRPD: ALL AVAILABLE RESOURCES USED TO DISPERSE CROWD
While some Bridge Street neighbors questioned if police could have done more to break up last weekend’s party, GRPD said officers did all they could with the resources at hand.
“Officers responded to the incident and began to address the situation,” explained Sgt. Dan Adams, public information officer with GRPD. “Large gatherings such as this require assessment before action is taken. It takes time to make those assessments.”
Adams said officers first tried to get partygoers to disperse by advising them to move along, but no one listened.
“There were not enough officers to initiate a crowd dispersal plan as the crowd was too large,” Adams said. “Officers then started to tow vehicles that were parked illegally in the hopes that attendees would move along. It was at this time that officers heard the shots and people began to scatter.”
Adams noted there was nothing illegal about the gathering on its own.
“The illegality comes with behavior afterwards. Violation of noise ordinances, illegal parking, blocking traffic, public drinking and littering are examples of illegal behavior that oftentimes come with these types of gatherings,” he said.
Adams said GRPD is still investigating the parties’ origins, the gunfire and the break-in they say occurred at 507 Bridge St. NW.
Neighbors said the Bridge Street attendees seemed to come from the Muskegon area.
Police in Grand Rapids and Wyoming are asking anyone with information or video from these events to contact police or Silent Observer.