MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) — Loved ones say a woman who was shot and killed early Monday morning in Muskegon had children and was pregnant.
Around midnight, officers with the Muskegon Police Department were sent to the area of Catherine Avenue near Maple Street after receiving reports of a shooting.
Responding officers found a 24-year-old Muskegon woman with an apparent gunshot wound to the chest. The police department said she died at the scene. It’s unclear what led up to the shooting, but officers do not believe this was random.
Antiasia Keys said the victim is the mother of her brother’s children and a person she considers a sister.
“I just feel like she didn’t deserve that,” Keys said.
Keys said the 24-year-old was pregnant and had other children who she was hoping to put in a better situation.
“She was genuine. She had a sweet heart and she helped. She was there every minute and second,” Keys said. “But you could tell she was tired of what we were going through because everywhere we go, we can’t lay our heads down, and everywhere we go, the house getting shot up. So she was just wanting to do right, so she can her babies in a better environment.”
Ronaldo Spoto has lived in his Catherine Avenue home for about five years and says it seems that violence has increased near his neighborhood over the past two years. He pointed to the death of a 14-year-old who was shot about a mile away on Jiroch Avenue in May. A 6-month-old was also fatally shot on E. Isabella Avenue in April.
“This is why I don’t allow my kids to walk around or something. It’s just one of those things we have to be aware of, what’s going on around here,” Spoto said.
Spoto said he’s hopeful for a solution.
“I think we need to work together as a community, figure out what’s going on, hopefully try to settle things before things get to this point,” he said.
One group working to address the problem is Taking Back Muskegon, an organization aiming to curb violence through mentorships and events like camping trips for youths or after-school programs.
“Because that’s what is needed. You have to start with our youth and in order to do that you have to build that trust with them,” Michelle Tyson, CEO of Taking Back Muskegon, said. “And we build that trust and we build that love.”
Tyson said her organization will soon expand into more Muskegon neighborhoods and schools. She wants youths to take the lessons they learned and apply them throughout life.
“It doesn’t make you a less cool kid, it doesn’t make you a nerd, it doesn’t make you a snitch. It just makes you a responsible young adult who wants to make better choices and better decisions,” Tyson said.