Father hopes billboard campaign will bring son’s killer to justice

Posted at 12:02 AM, Sep 30, 2014

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — While Steve Burrell joyfully watches his granddaughter play along a leaf lined street in Grand Rapids, the pain of not knowing who killed he father troubles him.

Burrell’s granddaughter has spent half her life without her father, Lamar Ivy, 22, who was shot and killed on Sept. 10, 2011, outside Galewood Tavern in Wyoming.

“Lamar shouldn’t be gone,” Burrell said. “I’m not the only parent that’s weeping, sobbing, depressed–I just don’t understand it.”

Ivy’s picture can be seen on a billboard located off Plainfield Avenue south of Quimby Street. His face, along with Marshawn Vinson, 17, who was shot on the city’s southeast side in 2010, are the last of 15 unsolved murders to be highlighted in the “You Know Who Killed Me” billboard Campaign.

While police in Grand Rapids and Wyoming say several people witnessed each murder, no one has come forward.

However, Chris Cameron, executive director of Silent Observer, said that can change in time. “Even if these crimes aren’t solved now, a month or two later, six months later, someone might feel differently about the person they’re protecting and will remember that these families need help–these families need justice.”

The billboard campaign has not only generated new tips for police but is also reminding the victims left behind that their loved ones are not forgotten, Cameron said. “They’re so desperate in wanting to see justice. This offers them the opportunity. Maybe there’s hope. Maybe somebody knows something who will come forward and give that great piece of information that solves the crime.”

It's a hope that leaves Burrell with a message for his son's killer and for anyone who holds the information that can bring peace to his family and others: "You know what you did. You know you killed my son--my baby. Now I got his baby. Turn yourself in. I'm just asking the community, all the young people out there, please do it for Nana (Ivy's daughter)."

None of the crimes highlighted in the campaign have been solved, Cameron said.

Anyone with information is asked to call Silent Observer at 616-774-2345.