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‘Parents just went into panic:’ Commissioner concerned about violence near Ottawa Hills

Posted at 6:23 PM, Dec 08, 2021

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Tuesday night, during the 3rd quarter of a basketball game going on inside Ottawa Hills High School, shots were fired outside of the building, police said.

As soon as that happened, Kent County Commissioner Robert Womack said he was flooded with phone calls.

“I just got 20 calls back to back to back to back. Some of them were from the same people but I would say about 10 people called me last night,” said Commissioner Womack during an interview with FOX 17 on Wednesday afternoon. “Following the Oxford shooting, hearing that there was a shooting here, the parents just went into panic.”

According to a statement released by Grand Rapids Public Schools, police asked them to keep people indoors until they cleared the area. Several rounds were fired. Homes and vehicles were hit. However, no one was injured.

“One of the things we have to do is understand the root causes and get to the root causes of this,” Womack said. “And also understand that we have a lot of young men in this community with guns and we have to do something about that. That has to be addressed.”

GRPS also stated that later that night, fights broke out in the gym causing officials to end the game early.

GRPD said 2 people were arrested in connection to that fight.

Womack said he’s already planning a meeting with the principal, the community, and other officials to discuss ways to end the violence.

“We’re also going to be addressing violence at the next Grand Rapids School Board meeting because we do like to see the presidents and past presidents of the school board take this on as a major issue,” Womack said. “I know their job is to build new buildings and build innovative schools but we have to address the violence at every level. It’s not just on the school system. It’s on the community. But we need a partnership to address this violence that is seeping from the community to the schools.”