GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — When Jontell White walked out of a Grand Rapids nightclub around 2 a.m. Saturday, he had 12 seconds to live. 

A video captured Jontell White’s fatal shooting outside Metro Grand Rapids, a club on the corner of Division Avenue and Rose Street, several blocks north of Burton Street. 

Jontell White, 30, exited the nightclub on Rose Street and started walking toward the parking lot located behind the business. He soon changed direction and walked toward the street and out of the camera’s frame. Seconds later, a man dressed in all black came from the direction of the parking lot, walking purposefully toward White.

He fired what appeared to be three bullets, and White fell backwards, his head and shoulders hitting the sidewalk just inside the camera’s frame. 

The shooter ran away toward the parking lot.

Grand Rapids police have not said whether they’ve made any arrests, nor whether they’ve developed any suspects.

The owner of Metro Grand Rapids, Joshua Sadowski, told News 8 he and his staff were devastated by the weekend shooting. He described White as a regular customer and said staff were in “various stages of mourning and paralysis.”  

“The man was executed,” Sadowski said, noting he and his staff are “praying for the victim’s family and an end to this violence.” 

Sadowski said the club has strong security and there was nothing any of his employees could have done to prevent the shooting.  

The scene of a fatal shooting on Grand Rapids’ southeast side. (Jan. 14, 2023)

Metro Grand Rapids has experienced violence before. In December 2019, a man was shot and critically injured inside the club. 

In August 2022, a man was shot and killed near Division Avenue and Stewart Street, two blocks south of the club. A law enforcement source told News 8 the victim in that shooting, 22-year-old Dacarri Brown, was on his way to Metro Grand Rapids when it happened. Grand Rapids police recently arrested two men in the August shooting, both of whom are facing murder charges. 

The Grand Rapids Police Department told News 8 officers have a good relationship with the club’s owner, whom they described as “responsive and cooperative.” 

Mother Deidra White has started a GoFundMe account to raise money to cover her son’s funeral expenses.

Deidra White, who lives in Muskegon, told News 8 her phone rang shortly after 2 a.m. Saturday. It was one of Jontell White’s brothers. 

“He was like, ‘Did anybody call you yet?'” she recalled, choking back tears. “I’m like, ‘For what?’ He was like, ‘They’re saying Mooky got shot, and he didn’t make it.'”

Diedra White, who said Jontell White was nicknamed Mooky as a baby, told News 8 she couldn’t believe it. 

She knows video of her son’s shooting is circulating online but doesn’t want to see it. 

“It was like somebody ripped the pit of my stomach out,” she said. “He was a gentle giant. He was sweet. He was kind. He was loving. He just didn’t deserve this.” 

She said she had hoped to get her son out of Grand Rapids, even tried to convince him to move with her to Muskegon.

“There was too much happening (in Grand Rapids),” she said. “The streets weren’t safe no more … I (told him), ‘The streets ain’t your friend … they’ll chew you up and spit you out.'” 

But Deirdra White said her son had always wanted to belong, to fit in with the “in” crowd. 

“Runnin’ with friends. Going to these bars and stuff,” she said. “I just want people to stop the violence. Put the guns down,” Diedra White pleaded. “These boys are dying young. Mothers are left to grieve. Children growing up without fathers. This has to stop.” 

Loved ones mourn the loss of Jontell White at a vigil on Jan. 15, 2023. White was shot and killed in Grand Rapids Saturday morning.
Loved ones mourn the loss of Jontell White at a vigil on Jan. 15, 2023. White was shot and killed in Grand Rapids Saturday morning.

Jontell White had two daughters of his own, an 11-year-old and a 1-year-old.

“That was my baby. (Mooky) was a special child. When he was younger, he suffered from seizures and had asthma real bad. He grew out of it, but he was always the special child,” explained Deidra White. “I told myself about a year ago, ‘Let him go. Let him be a man. Stop treating him like a baby.'” 

If you have any information about the fatal shooting of Jontell White, you’re asked to call GRPD at 616.456.3400 or Silent Observer at 616.774.2345.