Gang expert: Wyoming murder may have been gang initiation attempt

Kent County

WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — The senseless shooting captured on camera Tuesday left many questions.

An undated courtesy photo of John Cain.

John Cain was killed while working as security at the Grand Rapids Inn. Police say he was responding to a noise complaint when he became the random target of the shooting.

The shooter, 21-year-old Jacob Grygorzyk, recorded it on Snapchat, throwing up gang signs before grabbing the gun.

News 8 spoke with a former Gangster Disciple who says the shooter appears to be trying to join the gang.

Willie Watt was a member of the Gangster Disciples in Chicago for years, following in the footsteps of his father who worked with Larry Hoover; the founder of the Disciples. Watt sat down with News 8 to watch the video, which he says appears to be an audition.

“When he is showing the gun here it is plain to see that he is going to kill this person,” said Watt while watching the video. “I also noticed that the music playing in the background is a well-known disciple in Chicago.”

Watt was a Disciple for about six years before getting out of the gang and dedicating his life to helping kids avoid gang life. He currently runs Lifeline Ministries in Holland. 

Watt says the signs the shooters throws up in the video show that he runs with the Disciples.  

“He wants to pull this guy into the room, but the guy is not coming in and right here he is showing the gun to the camera, which means that he was going to try to do the killing in front of the camera to prove to somebody or auditioning,” Watt said.

Watt says to join the Disciples a person can kill a rival gang member or someone random. But the rules are they can’t get caught.

He says that could explain the reason the shooter went home and, according to police, killed himself.

Watt says he could have also been false flagging: throwing up the Disciple’s signs without being a Disciple. Watt says most disciples in West Michigan are Black and the shooter was white.

The real reason may never be known.

Watt says gang initiations are still happening all over West Michigan. He says in Holland there are roughly 300 disciples and in Grand Rapids there are around 500 to 600. 

“And they run strong,” said Watt. 

He says the gang problem has gotten worse because the community turns a blind eye. Watt says it’s not until an innocent person dies that the community cares. He added if we want to solve the problem, we must provide kids with other opportunities.  

“We have to lift up organizations that’s in the community that’s hands on, that’s trying to reach the young people in this town, because they’re not being reached.”

A GoFundMe account has been set up to help Cain’s family cover funeral expenses.

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