GRPD investigates after man shot in head on city’s southeast side

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The Grand Rapids Police Department and its Special Response Team quickly converged on a southeast-side neighborhood late Friday afternoon, after a shooting.

The incident occurred around 5 p.m., on the sidewalk near Franklin Street and Eastern Avenue. The tactical team arrived on-scene around 6:15 p.m. At one point, they were speaking from a megaphone to people inside a nearby house.

Sergeant John Wittkowski says witnesses told arriving officers one person was shot once in the head and a vehicle not intended to be shot at was struck by bullets, as well. Up to 10 shots were fired. The man grazed in the head by the bullet was taken to Mercy Health St. Mary’s Hospital, but Wittkowski says, “He’s going to be okay…so he’s a lucky man.”

Police are still investigating, but believe the incident was tied to an alleged $20 drug debt. “The individuals who approached him wanted their money. At that point, they fired on him, hit that vehicle, hit him…over something relatively minor – at this busy intersection – it just makes you shake your head.”

At the scene, Sgt. Wittkowski told FOX 17 the two suspects took off running eastbound: “We got indication that the suspects in the shooting fled down here in the 800 block of Franklin. After we shut down the intersection, we created a perimeter around a house (where witnesses saw two people run). We called everybody out of the house. One individual that was involved did come out and they were cooperative. The other individuals that came out were not involved. They were also cooperative.

“We searched the house; there was no firearm. We are on the lookout for one other suspect at this point. We don’t know his identity. Presumably, at least one occupant from the house knows who this person is…”. But he said that person isn’t saying who the gunman is.

The suspects are said to be between 18 and 20 years old. One is a woman who was taken into custody, the other is a man who had not been caught yet, as of Friday night. He was described as black, with a skinny build, 5-feet-8 to 6-feet tall, wearing dark clothing.

Police told FOX 17 on Friday night the gun involved had not been recovered.

“Presumably, he is armed and dangerous.”

The vehicle struck was a Ford Escape pulling out of a parking lot. It was not the intended target, just the man, says Sgt. Wittkowksi. “The “two ladies…were just collateral damage, unfortunately…they’re alright…a mother and a daughter are lucky they weren’t injured more.”

The perimeter was broken down around 6:53 p.m. Friday.


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