With gunfire now ‘status quo,’ GRPD ups patrols

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — After 11 people were injured in four shootings over the weekend, Grand Rapids police say they have increased patrols in the neighborhoods that have seen a rise in violence this summer.

“People that live in these communities deserve better and the Grand Rapids Police Department is doing everything that they can to address the violence,” GRPD Sgt. John Wittkowski said Monday. “We all need to be outraged by this behavior.”

The bloodiest of the weekend shootings was at East Paris Hookah Lounge in the early hours of Sunday. The owner said dozens of shots were fired within the span of a minute, shattering the front windows and lodging 20 bullets in a wall.

Seven people ranging in age from 21 to 37 were shot. One of them, a 29-year-old man, sustained life-threatening injuries.

One of the other shootings was around 10 p.m. Saturday on Adams Street SE near Kalamazoo Avenue. Two people were wounded.

It’s the same area where on Friday, Nicholas Ingram, 27, of Grand Rapids, was shot and killed and another person seriously wounded.

Also around 10 p.m. Saturday, another person was shot on Lincoln Avenue NW near Second Street NW. About an hour later, around 11 p.m., a man was shot in the area of Michigan Street NW and Monroe Avenue downtown.

No one has been arrested in the weekend shootings. Police are asking for witnesses to come forward with information about the crimes. You can call GRPD at 616.456.3400 or stay anonymous by contacting Silent Observer at 616.774.2345.

“Gunshots have been pretty much status quo, so it’s unfortunate, but it’s gotten to the point where it doesn’t even register any longer. Gunshots occur every night,” Wittkowski said. “We’re going to scenes where having 20 to 25 casings is normal. And my 25 years (in law enforcement), I have never seen this.”

GRPD says it is attributing this summer’s spike in gun violence, at least in part, to pent-up aggression amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In addition to upping patrols, GRPD has proposed a gun buy-back program. The last time it did that was the 1990s, when the city was in the midst of a crack problem.

“There will be no words to describe what is going on right now. This is akin to a war zone,” Wittkowski said.

The owner of the hookah lounge said he was planning to install bulletproof glass.

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