ZEELAND, Mich.– A teenager stabbed in the chest in Zeeland around 6 PM on Friday night. The victim was in critical condition when he was transported to the hospital. It happened near Pine Street and Central Avenue. The search continues for the attacker.
Zeeland Police Chief Bill Olney says there’s not much to go on from witnesses, and very few leads as of late Friday night. This happened right across the street from what was a crowded playground earlier Friday evening, but as far as police know no one saw anything. Neighbors say this kind of violence is out of the ordinary for their community.
1 P.M. is a popular time at this playground on Pine Street, where kids like Isaiah Stam play all the time.
“I like biking, playing on my iPad, sometimes I’ll go out and play basketball,” said Isaiah.
Isaiah and his family live right next door to where the stabbing happened. They didn’t hear anything, but found out about it almost immediately after an abundance of police cars showed up.
The family rushed outside to see a teenage boy bleeding heavily and sent to the hospital.
“Zeeland is a quiet community. It’s safe. People let their kids play in the streets and run around,” said Rob Stam, father of Isaiah.
Rob couldn’t believe something like this happened right outside his house.
“It’s certainly disturbing that it happened in broad daylight,” said Rob.
Police are just as concerned about that fact too.
“There was one person who was with the victim when it happened. He was semi cooperative and it doesn’t appear we are getting a whole lot of cooperation,” said Chief Olney.
What police know right now is that the victim and his friend were walking along the building. When the suspect allegedly jumped out and stabbed the teen. The motive is still unclear, and police aren’t ruling anything out, including whether this could be tied to gang activity.
“We can’t rule it in and we can’t rule it out. Anytime you have a gang situation it’s not limited to a geographic area because everyone is mobile,” said Chief Olney.
Families like the Stams say this violent crime that happened right outside their door raises red flags, but it doesn’t change the way they feel about their safety.
“The last thing we want to do is teach our children to live on fear unfortunately bad things happen all over the place,” said Rob Stam.
The victim underwent surgery Friday night. His name has not been released. As far as a suspect description goes, police believe they’re looking for a teenager, 17 of 18 years old. He was last seen wearing blue gym shorts, and red tennis shoes.
Police did send an officer to the hospital to try to get more information late Friday night.