Family: Muskegon man killed day before starting college

Muskegon County

MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) — Relatives say the 18-year-old man shot and killed in Muskegon Sunday was supposed to start classes at Muskegon Community College the next day.

“We don’t have a clear understanding as to why God called him home, but God knows,” Veronica Williams said of her cousin, Mervin Bonner Jr.

An undated courtesy photo of Mervin Bonner Jr.

Shortly before 10 p.m. Sunday, Muskegon police were called to the 1500 block of 7th Street near W. Grand Avenue. There, they found Bonner lying in the street with a gunshot wound to the head. He died at the scene.

“If you were a friend or a family member, he would do the world for you,” said Williams. “Just a sweet person.”

Mervin Bonner
A photo of Mervin Bonner at his mother’s home in Muskegon. (Aug. 26, 2019)

Williams said she’s struggling to understand why her cousin, who was a straight-A student, lost his life to gun violence.

“He knew what he wanted to do with his life he knew he needed to be a better person not just for him but for his mom,” Williams said.

The Muskegon High School graduate was supposed to start his first day of class at Muskegon Community College Monday. Loved ones say he was working to earn a degree in business.

Mervin Bonner
A photo of Mervin Bonner at his mother’s home in Muskegon. (Aug. 26, 2019)

“I was definitely proud of the man he became,” said Bonner’s mother, who was too overwhelmed by grief to speak on camera.

No arrests have been made in his killing and no suspect description was released Monday.

Both Bonner’s family and the people who live near where he died are calling for an end to the shootings.

“It’s babies dying. Like these guys, they ain’t even 20, 21 years old yet and they are just dying left and right,” said Callistus Eziukwu, who grew up in the neighborhood.

“Something needs to be done real and right away,” said neighbor Ronald Alexander.

“Put these guns away and realize life is precious,” said Williams.

Bonner’s loved ones are looking to his photos for strength and to the community to speak up.

“Call Silent Observer. Don’t leave his mom in that pain and that agony,” Williams urged.

Anyone with information in this case can contact the Muskegon Police Department at 231.724.6750 or Silent Observer at 231.722.7463.

— Reporter Donovan Long contributed to this story.

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