GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Rapids police say multiple people and multiple guns, as well as a Glock switch, are believed to have been involved in an early Thursday shooting that left one person dead and another injured.
Grand Rapids Police Department Chief Eric Winstrom said officers on patrol heard shots around 12:15 a.m. near the intersection of Division Avenue and Fair Street SE.
“They (officers) heard what sounded like rapid fire, could’ve even been automatic fire,” Winstrom said.
Two men were found shot outside My Place Bar. One died at the scene. His name was not immediately released. The other person, who sustained several gunshot wounds, was taken to the hospital and listed in critical condition.
Winstrom said it was likely multiple guns were involved.
“Which probably means multiple shooters,” he continued. “It looked to me from my experience that there were likely multiple shooters firing from different locations.”
Overnight, officers found more than 50 shell casings at the crime scene, which spanned a block. The forensics team was going back out Thursday in daylight to look for more.
“It’s an extensive crime scene,” Winstrom said. “There’s so much forensic evidence. With that many rounds fired, there were a lot of vehicles that were damaged, (forensics investigators) were going to check for other buildings damaged, fired rounds and things like that.”
The chief said the shooters probably used a Glock switch, a device that effectively turns a semi-automatic handgun into a machine gun.
“There’s a lot of tragedy associated with those Glock switches across the country,” Winstrom, who was previously a police officer in Chicago, said. “I saw a significant amount of collateral injuries in Chicago when individuals would use those. They’re impossible to aim. Even for a trained marksman, to try and aim a fully automatic handgun is impossible.”
He couldn’t say with absolute certainty that a Glock switch was used because the investigation was ongoing. But he said considering what officers heard, the number of bullets in a standard magazine and that most shootings happen in matter of seconds, it was likely.
It’s unknown what led to the shooting but Winstrom said it was probably not random and it’s possible it could have started inside My Place Bar. Several witnesses inside the bar reported hearing gunshots.
Winstrom said far too often, a simple slight leads to violence.
“It’s a social media beef, it’s a simple insult, a small showing of disrespect that ends up in the loss of a life. It’s just difficult to wrap your head around,” he said.
He said it was going to take a while for detectives to speak to all the witnesses and work out the chain of events. They were also looking for video that might show what happened.
“With that many rounds spread over that much of an area, it probably is more complicated than a simple one individual shooting another person,” the chief said. “This is likely to be a very complex murder to investigate.”
GRPD’s Major Case Team is investigating. Anyone with information is asked to call detectives at 616.456.3380 or Silent Observer at 616.774.2345.
“A lot of people are hesitant to cooperate in these investigations even if they don’t know the individuals involved but they have some information. They don’t want to get involved because this is an individual who was willing to take someone’s life and they don’t want to be connected to the situation because of fear,” Winstrom said. “Our partner in Silent Observer is excellent. Not only can it be done anonymously but in a case like this, there’s a reward of thousands of dollars … for information leading to an arrest in a murder.”
—News 8’s Joe LaFurgey contributed to this report.