GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (June 18, 2014) – A cluster of violence in downtown Grand Rapids has got the attention of police and others who live or visit the city.
The most recent shooting involved two teens outside Buffalo Wild Wings Tuesday night.
Police say both teens were shot in the back. A 16-year-old was critically hurt the other was able to flag down a police officer.
While police continue to search for a shooter they are also working with city leaders, and business owners to try and get a handle on the violence before it gets worse.
Captain Curt Vanderkooi with the Grand Rapids Police Department said, “We had a number of incidents and unfortunately some of them centered around the downtown area here.”
The problems on Tuesday started around 8:00pm. Officers who were working a Bruno Mars concert at Van Andel Arena were called to Rosa Parks Circle for an assault in progress.
“We ended up arresting three or four individuals there for disorderly conduct,” said Capt. Vanderkooi.
Then, hours later, a section of Ionia in front of Buffalo Wild Wings was roped off well into the morning.
Police don’t have a motive in the shooting, but said judging from witness statements they believe the shots came from a nearby parking garage.
Police are not sure if the fight at Rosa Parks Circle has anything to do with the shooting later that night. Either way, police said it points to a bigger issue.
“Individual behavior is what is the problem here,” said Capt. Vanderkooi. “There are individuals that decide they are going to solve their minor conflicts by assaulting people and because of that act it generates higher level of violence and that is what occurred.”
To curb the bad behavior the police are stepping up patrols when the crowds come downtown, weekend nights and when the weather is nice. The department is also working with others who have a stake in keeping the neighborhood safe as well.
“We have community officers that are interacting with all the individual business owners,” said Vanderkooi.
The past weekend, police were called out to investigate a report of shots-fired outside McFadden’s Bar. We’re told no one was injured in that shooting.