'Operation Brison' launches multi-city effort cracking down on freeway shootings in honor of slain toddler

Posted at 8:18 AM, Jun 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-25 08:18:12-04

(WXYZ) — The death of 2-year-old Brison Christian in a tragic Detroit freeway shooting one week ago is now sparking a massive multi-city effort to save lives.

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Emotions remain very raw for the father of 2-year-old Brison who was killed in a freeway shooting one week ago. Yet, he says there’s hope in a new operation named after his son.

Operation Brison, launched by the Detroit Police Department in partnership with some surrounding metro Detroit police agencies, aims to combat violent crime on area freeways.

“For what happened to my son to happen and almost instantly they come up with a whole game plan and put it in motion, that’s huge,” said Brian Christian.

For Brian, there's a deep sense of purpose and priority behind the urgent effort to end freeway shootings like the one that robbed his family of 2-year-old Brison. Facing incredible grief, Brian says he found some comfort in the quick response from not only Detroit police who arrested suspects in the case, but also outside agencies like the Macomb County Sheriff's Office, as well as the Southfield and Dearborn police departments, who have all stepped up patrols on highways.

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“(I) just want to thank chiefs from around the region for coming together today,” said Detroit Interim Police Chief James White. On Thursday, White met with 30 police chiefs across metro Detroit to discuss Operation Brison.

It's a turning point in this crusade, as Detroit's interim police chief addresses the issue with neighboring community crime fighters.

Stats show in 2021 there were a total of 24 freeway shootings, and 22 of them were in Detroit.

“We’re going to provide a level of safety to our community with MSP," Chief White said. "Structure times we think are best to provide an additional layer of security."

Dearborn Police Chief Ron Haddad joining the movement to crack down on freeway shootings.

“Freeways tend to be where criminals come and go from all our communities," Haddad said. "Every major crime we’ve investigated involved these other communities as well.”

To Brison's dad Brian, it's a real step toward making metro Detroit safer, which will help ensure that no other parent has to lose a child to senseless highway shootings.

"It brought tears to my eyes almost," Brian said of the new joint safety effort across metro Detroit. "The word is out there. People are conscious of it now. Before they were waiting for you to go on there to do something.”

And in Dearborn, guns and high-speed danger are never far from the minds of those on patrol. When a chance to step up collaborative enforcement presented itself, Chief Ron Haddad says it was an instant decision to join.

“I don’t have to tell you about shootings, carjackings and rage on the freeways," he said. "We’ve experienced most vehicles we stop have weapons in them.”

And for Brian, as a grieving father, he says he never imagined his family would be a springboard for this type of change.

“I was one of those people that didn’t think it would happen to me," he said. "I felt I did everything the right way and was normal, leaving basketball practice with my family. If it can affect me doing something like that, it can affect anybody.”

Detroit police say they will also be receiving additional aerial surveillance from their partners, and giving an eye in the sky to stop the shootings.