GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Rapids police are urging homeless people to do more to protect themselves after a homicide earlier this week.
The Homeless Outreach Team of the Grand Rapids Police Department say they are working with local shelters and resources in the community to encourage homeless people to take precautions following a death on Bridge Street.
Santino “Taco” Ysasi was killed outside of now-closed St. James Church on Bridge Street and his body was found Wednesday morning. The medical examiner ruled Ysasi’s death a homicide. Police believe he was homeless.
“People in the unhoused community are at increased risk, especially overnight while sleeping outdoors alone,” said GRPD’s HOT leader Sgt. John Wittkowski. “We have been working with our community partners, including area shelters and the network of resource providers, to get the word out to encourage our unsheltered community to take safety precautions.”
HOT is also sending officers to reach out directly to homeless people.
“We understand that some people don’t want to go to a shelter and in that case, we are encouraging them to use the buddy system to keep tabs on each other. It’s an old saying, but it’s true – there is safety in numbers,” said Wittkowski.
GRPD’s Major Case Team is still investigating and working with HOT to develop leads. Anyone with information on the killing is asked to contact GRPD detectives at 616.456.3380 or Silent Observer at 616.774.2345.