Neighbor Reacts to Kentwood Shootings

Posted at 10:59 PM, Jul 21, 2013
and last updated 2013-07-21 23:20:22-04

KENTWOOD, Mich. — Kentwood police have had two shootings on their hands in the past week. One was on Stauffer Avenue and the other was on Farmview Court.

Long-time resident Steve Wagner has lived on Stauffer since 1995. He said the neighborhood has changed a lot of over the years. Recent crimes in the area, particularly violent crimes, weren’t heard of back then.

“The days of prosperity and easy money went away, of course, with the decline in housing, with the mortgage collapse and things like this. In order for a lot of landlords to keep the cash flow going, they`ve had to relax their standards and who they rent to,” Wagner said this has an effect on Kentwood in general.

His neighborhood has seen an increased police presence in the past week. Residents said there is no neighborhood association, but there used to be. Wagner thinks a neighborhood group isn’t adequate to address the problems the area is currently dealing with.

Saturday afternoon, police said a man was shot three times in the chest three times on Stauffer Avenue. Earlier the week, five people were shot at a graduation party. That incident happened a half-mile away from the Stauffer shooting. Police said uninvited guest crashed the party, started arguing and then opened fire.

“It`s gonna take prayer to break what`s going on in our neighborhoods. Not just here on this street alone, but throughout the metropolitan Grand Rapids area,” Wagner said.

He added, “We can do all the talk. We can march up and down our neighborhoods and say `stop the violence!` … but if we don`t lay the foundation, again, on prayer, everything else that we do will not matter.”

Police said an 18 year old has been arrested in connection with the shooting at the graduation party. Investigators said the suspect on Stauffer was beat up by the victim’s roommate and was taken to the hospital with severe head injuries.