GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The cousin of fatal shooting victim James King said the two were trying to sell marijuana in a strip mall parking lot when one of the customers opened fire, trying to rob them.
King, 17, a senior at East Kentwood High School, was shot in the head, his cousin said.
The cousin, who did not want to be named, said he has identified suspects to police.
“I have an idea who they are. I seen a few faces,” he said.
He said that includes a 17-year-old East Kentwood High School junior who is being held in the Kent County jail.
The suspect is accused of obstructing police and robbery, but has not been charged, Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker said. It’s not clear what role he allegedly played in the death.
The cousin said he and King went to the Towne & Country Shopping Center on Kalamazoo Avenue SE and 44th Street to sell marijuana when they approached four men in a car. The car was parked next to a light pole about 5 p.m. Sunday. It was still daylight.
“We walked up to them,” he told 24 Hour News 8. “We were just serving them. That’s what it was. That’s all it was supposed to be.”
He said King slid into the back seat of the suspects’ car after one of the passengers had gotten out to make room.
He said King quickly learned he was being robbed.
“They wanted to steal that weed from us,” the cousin said. “They wanted to steal marijuana from us.
“When my cousin opened that door out and he tried to get out, that’s when they did what they did,” he continued. “They shot him right in the head. They didn’t have to do him like that, not over some damn weed, bro.”
He said he saw the handgun, then watched his cousin fall out of the back seat.
The passenger who had gotten out jumped back in before the car fled, he said.
The shooter drove off, hitting at least one other vehicle in the parking lot on the way. Police later found the getaway vehicle on nearby Norman Drive, but the driver wasn’t there.
The cousin said he held King in the parking lot, waiting for rescuers.
“I felt like he was grabbing me, like, ‘I’m still with you cuz, I’m still with you,'” he said.
Police said King died on the scene despite rescue efforts.
The victim’s mom Toshia Williams said she had last seen her son at home, not far from the store, about an hour before the shooting. She rushed to the scene after a relative called her.
“It’s not a good sight,” she said. “I would not wish that on any parent, to see nothing like that, just your son laying there, just dead.”
Her son was a senior at East Kentwood High School, with plans to go to Grand Rapids Community College, she said. He wanted to be an architect.
“It’s just sad he’s gone at 17. At 17 years old, his last year. He had a couple months to go in school and he’d have graduated.”
She wants justice.
“He was just a real outgoing kid, and for them to take my son away from me, at 17, that’s crazy,” she said. “I just wish they were laying there dead like him.”