The shooting happened Thursday morning on Burton Street SE in front of Ottawa Hills High School. A teen not affiliated with the school was shot, prompting lockdowns at that school and at others in the area.
Father Troy Nevins, the pastor of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish, told 24 Hour News 8 there have been emergencies in the past that have prompted lockdowns and that it’s been standard practice for GRPD to notify the school.
But the Nevins said this time, that didn’t happen — and now he’s trying to figure out why.
It was about 10:30 a .m. Thursday when Nevins said he was in the church office when suddenly, he heard gunshots.
Nevins said church staff called over to Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic School next door and it went into lockdown mode. He went outside to try to talk with police at the shooting scene while staff at the school called police dispatch to try to figure out what was going on.
“And we’re getting two different messages… we’ve always gotten a phone call from the Grand Rapids police department… and this time we didn’t,” Nevins said, adding, “We were in a quandary as to what the truth was.”
Eventually, Nevins was able to figure out what was happening and the school got a message out to parents. But he says many expressed concerns that it didn’t happen fast enough, so he sent out a letter explaining what went wrong.
“Well, of course it’s very concerning, because parents are out shopping or at work and they’re hearing the story via news and they haven’t heard from us yet,” Nevins said.
Nevins said school leaders are now working to get in touch with GRPD to find out how the breakdown happened and to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
“When you’re responsible for a school of some 300 children, it weighs heavy upon you that we can do all we can that we have a secure environment,” Nevins said.
24 Hour News 8 provided a copy of the IHM letter to Grand Rapids Police Chief David Rahinsky. A department spokesman said they are looking into the matter but didn’t have any comment beyond that.