GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A man was shot in the back under a gazebo at Joe Taylor Memorial Park in Grand Rapids Wednesday afternoon.
It happened around 2:30 p.m. at 1038 Baxter St. SE.
“We don’t know why,” Grand Rapids Police Department Interim Chief David Kiddle told 24 Hour News 8.
Officers on the scene received information that a red passenger car left the park at a high rate of speed, according to GRPD.
Grand Rapids officers in the area of Highland Street and Lafayette Avenue SE saw a red Chevy driving at a high rate of speed. GRPD says officers attempted to stop the vehicle, but a black man wearing a white T-shirt and black pants exited the car and ran from officers. Officers didn’t catch him.
Authorities checking the path the suspect ran found a gun.
Kiddle says the victim is a man in his mid-20s and his injuries are not considered life-threatening injuries. GRPD says the victim was conscious and talking before he went into surgery.
CALLS FOR COMMUNITY TO HELP POLICE
In the past four days, six people have been shot in Grand Rapids.
“Our (shooting) numbers are unacceptable and this is certainly unacceptable. (This) is a nice friendly park in a nice residential area. This is not something that we’re going to stand for,” Kiddle said.
About an hour after police cleared the scene, the splash pad at the park began refilling with people. Brenda Laird visited with her grandchildren.
“People have to realize that there are children here and they want to feel safe,” Laird said. “Not even at the park, but even in their homes (and) in front of their homes.”
She said she’s praying for the apparent tensions on the south side of the city to ease.
“I just wish it would stop,” she said.
If the violence doesn’t cease, she forsees park closures and more lives put in jeopardy. But for now, she won’t be deterred from letting her family enjoy summer.
Laird is praying for change. She joined the calls from GRPD for the community to speak up.
She understands looming fears of retaliation, but encouraged people to use anonymous resources and trust criminals will be brought to justice.
“There are people who know what happened here and we need people to let us know what that is,” Kiddle said.
“If we’re not fighting back, we’re losing,” Laird said. “We’re not protecting our children. We have to fight back. We have to stand up and if you see it, report it.”