NewsLocal NewsGrand Rapids


Grand Rapids police chief says uptick in gun violence is 'not acceptable'

Posted at 6:16 AM, Jul 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-17 11:42:38-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Grand Rapids Police Chief Eric Payne called the uptick in gun violence unacceptable during a press conference Friday.

"It is ridiculous that this is occurring," Payne said. "We need to work together. It’s not acceptable.”

This comes after two nights of gun violence following the shooting death of a 23-year-old man at the Wealthy Street Market on Wednesday.

Police say both Wednesday and Thursday were busy nights for them, investigating several scenes were shots were fired.

The most recent happened just before 10 p.m. Thursday in the 900 block of Lane Avenue.

We're told the victim was hospitalized after being grazed by a bullet after shots were fired.

Shortly before that, shots were fired into a home near Burton and Union. A 2-year-old was hit in the arm, according to police and had to be hospitalized.

Police also say shots were fired in the area of 11th and Quarry Thursday. A woman inside was hit in the face by broken glass from the bullets, police say.

Police don't have evidence that any of these incidents are related.

"This isn't an isolated area," Payne said. "It's happening throughout the city."

The pandemic may be playing a part in the increased gun violence, however.

Payne said COVID-19 has had an impact on the department's ability to hold events to listen to and build trust with the community. Things like mobile command posts have been put off because of the need to minimize contact and gatherings to reduce to spread of the virus.

The police chief also says lack of engagement with young people today may be another factor.

However, those aren't excuses. Payne says the violence has to stop.

"We will hold you accountable with whatever resources that we have to crush those that are out there senselessly doing this," Payne said.

Watch the press conference: