GRANS RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — In another push to combat a rash of break-ins and an unusually violent year, Grand Rapids-area authorities are encouraging more tips from the public with specific rewards.
Silent Observer and Operation Save Our Streets put out a plea to the community in a Friday press conference, saying police need witnesses to step forward to solve crimes.
Silent Observer says it offers $2,500 for tips that help solve a murder and $1,000 or more for shootings.
Grand Rapids has recorded 22 homicides so far this year, making this one of the city’s deadliest years ever. At the press conference, the Grand Rapids Police Department called for help solving four of cases:
- The May 27 killing of Andre Jones, 41, who was shot and killed at a house on Highland Street SE.
- The June 7 killing of Larry McIntosh, 48, who was shot in the street along Marshall Avenue SE.
- The June 26 death of Denver Gunn, 48, who was killed on a front porch along Muskegon Avenue NW.
- The July 19 death of Jordan Ginns, 24, of Kentwood. GRPD says several people may have planned the shooting and the killer’s escape.
Police also asked for help to find the man accused of a 2019 Grand Rapids double murder. Cherletta Baber-Bey, 47, and Keyona Griffin, 25, were killed March 13, 2019, in a Sheldon Avenue SE home. Police say Derrell Brown, 45, did it, but he has been on the run and they can’t find him.
The region has also seen a rash of break-ins at car dealerships, with the stolen vehicles often being used in smash-and-grabs at places like cellphone stores and even in drive-by shootings, police say.
“The violence that continues in our city will not be quelled or solved by the Grand Rapids Police Department alone,” GRPD Deputy Chief Scott Rifenberg said. “Violence in the community touches all residents of Grand Rapids. Combating this violence is not just our job, but the responsibility of all residents of Grand Rapids and Kent County.”
Acknowledging witnesses may fear retribution, officials emphasized that Silent Observer tipsters can remain anonymous. Tips can be submitted online or by calling 616.774.2345.
Silent Observer relies on donations, which has been down amid the coronavirus pandemic. You can donate at the organization’s website.