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Families asking for justice after deadly weekend in West Michigan

Posted at 10:40 PM, Jul 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-25 23:25:53-04

WEST MICHIGAN — Families in West Michigan are pleading for answers after several deadly shootings in Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo over the weekend.

The shootings left three people dead, including a 16-year-old girl, and injured two people, with one victim in critical condition.

“If anybody knows anything, please come forward and give my family closure because this was terrible,” said Ebony Jennings.

Jennings' brother, 43-year-old Michael Jennings, was gunned down just after midnight on Sunday along Ionia Avenue near Heartside Park.

According to Grand Rapids police, a second victim showed up at an area hospital with a non-life threatening injury. It’s not clear what led up to the shooting.

“Michael was very courageous, just not afraid of anything,” said Latisha Jennings-Hudson, Michael’s younger sister. “He was always there for everybody, no matter what we could always count on him.”

Jennings family set up a fundraiser to help cover funeral expenses and care for his six children.

“We need answers, we need the closure,” said Jennings-Hudson. “The way he was killed, it’s too many questions and laying out here in the streets for hours.”

It’s grief that’s also experienced in Kalamazoo.

According to Kalamazoo Township Police, officers responded to a shots fired call around 2:30 a.m. near Big Bend Apartments.

Investigators determined a dark colored SUV shot at a group walking in the area, but it’s unknown why. Initially, officers believe there was only one victim when a 16-year-old Kalamazoo boy arrived at a nearby hospital with a gunshot wound, however a second victim, a 16-year-old Kalamazoo Township girl, was later found in the area and had died. The boy is in critical but stable condition as of Sunday morning.

“Nothing about her was this, this incident,” said Tashawana Robinson, a cousin. “She was just totally vibrant and intelligent, loving, not judgmental.”

Police nor family have identified the young woman.

“My family is coping with the situation,” Robinson said. “Everybody involved, her mom, her dad, nobody never wants to go through burying their child, especially one that haven’t even experienced real life yet.”

It was the second homicide for the area this weekend.

According to officials, a 25-year-old Decatur man died on Saturday from apparent gunshot wounds at an apartment complex on W. Main Street.

A 27-year-old Kalamazoo Township man is in police custody. A reason why the shooting happened was not released, but police believe it was not a random act of violence.

Loved ones affected by the violence across West Michigan pleaded for it to stop.

“Tomorrow’s not promised and I hate that it takes a tragedy for people to gather and surround each other, around one another,” Jennings-Hudson said. “It’s horrible.”

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