‘Leaders need to step up, period’ Muskegon Hts. councilman calls upon other leaders to help end violence

Posted at 11:14 PM, Aug 21, 2014
and last updated 2014-08-21 23:14:29-04

MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, Mich. -- Following a string of homicides, a city councilman in Muskegon Heights is calling upon other community leaders to help put an end to the violence.

There's been seven murders in the city since April. The latest victim, 17-year-old Daquarius Love, was gunned down at the intersection of Peck Street and Hume Avenue just after 12 a.m. Thursday.

While standing on a sidewalk, just feet away from where Love was shot, City Councilman Eddie Jenkins said plans to stop the violence aren't strong enough.

"That's a lot of [the] reason why we're in the situation we're hunger in bringing back the city," Jenkins said.

Last week, Jenkins started 'Operation Heavy-Hitter,' which is a plan calling for increased police patrols, along with initiating neighborhood watch programs. However, he said the support to see that plan through isn't there.

"I'm having some leaders come out," Jenkins said. "I'm not having nearly enough as I thought. Bottom line is, our leaders need to step up, period."

For five years, Jesus Godoy has lived with his family at home less than a block away from where love was killed. He said he heard the violence unfold early Thursday morning, adding it's not the first time gunfire has hit close to his home.

"Too many people shooting around. I found it in my house...bullets," Godoy said. "One time [I] found a bullet in the wall."

While Jenkins is urging the community and its leaders to come together, he said he'll do what he can to help end the violence.

"It hurts bad because, ya know, you got young kids killing each other, " Jenkins said. "Being a city leader, you've got people coming at you like, 'What're you going to do?' I think that's a really good question.

It's a question that Jenkins hopes will help create a plan for the city. Meetings to discuss the violence take place at City Hall every Wednesday. Following this latest killing, Jenkins said he has a lot he wants to talk about.

"No matter how hard it may seem, the Heights is going to turn around," Jenkins said. "I'm going to do whatever I can to make that happen."