GRPD: “You’ll See More Presence” Downtown

Posted at 7:12 PM, Jun 18, 2014
and last updated 2014-06-18 19:40:15-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (June 18, 2014) — People who walk through downtown Grand Rapids everyday and sometimes night, reacted to recent violence in the area.

“I’m a marine. I know how to put (a bullet) in. They just shoot randomly. They just going ‘pop pop pop pop pop,'” a man who didn’t want to be identified said.

Just yards away from Nicole Gibson’s bus stop, a double shooting left two teens injured Tuesday night. One suffered critical injuries. (Further details about the shooting are yet to be released.)

Gibson said, “I don’t feel safe particularly. A lot of times I hold my purse really close to me.”

“Because when I’m walking past people, you just can’t trust people now. There’s a lot of purse snatchings and a lot of bad things that go on around here,” she explained.

People are also concerned that innocent bystanders will be caught in the crossfire. Grand Rapids police are trying to stop the violence before it escalates, and they said Tuesday night’s incident involved troubled teenagers.

“I would relate it to poor interpersonal skills, and solving conflict with violence,” Capt. Curt Vanderkooi with the Grand Rapids Police Department said.

As patrons at local bars and restaurants came and went in downtown’s arena district, police found themselves stretched thin with a lot of calls for service.

Vanderkooi said six to eight officers manned the Bruno Mars concert at Van Andel Arena, but the biggest problem happened after it let out.

That double shooting happened just before midnight.  Hours before that, he said officers responded to a fight at Rosa Parks Circle.

“And we ended up arresting three to four individuals there for disorderly conduct,” Vanderkooi said.

It’s not clear whether the fight and the shootings were related.

Another shooting happened three days ago in the McFadden’s Restaurant parking lot. No one was hit.

A spokesperson for Barfly Ventures, which operates several downtown establishments, said in part:

“There needs to be increased visibility and presence by police in downtown. There also needs to be increased enforcement of GR’s curfew law.  We need leadership from the city.”

As for shootings in downtown overall, Vanderkooi said they occur “infrequently.”

FOX 17 asked, “What can people frequenting downtown expect in the coming days?”

Vanderkooi repsonded, “You will see police presence… suppress the problems of assault.”

He said the goal is to stop the violence from escalating.

He added, “You’ll see more presence.”