GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Officials with the police department and prosecutor’s office announced Tuesday that over a dozen people had been arrested as the result of a grand jury recently being impaneled.
The City of Grand Rapids saw a high number of violent crimes during the summer of 2019, which prompted law enforcement investigators to take the somewhat uncommon approach of assembling a one-man grand jury to seek charges against those they believed to be involved.
Grand Rapids Police Chief Eric Payne and Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker called a press conference Tuesday afternoon to announce the details of their effort.
“Investigators worked very hard in many cases to solve these crimes what we found though is a lack of cooperation," Payne said Tuesday.
All of the charges relate in some way to the series of violent crimes seen across the city last summer.
Becker adding, “All of them involved these warring factions, if you will, going after one another back and forth.”
One of those cases was a shooting near Union High School in August of 2019. Three teenagers were seriously injured after being shot while they sat in a car.
“Very few witnesses wanted to testify, none of the victims wanted to cooperate,” Becker said.
Because of a lack of charges coming out of these cases, police and prosecutors decided to convene the one-man grand jury.
“It was an extraordinary summer so it took an extraordinary step, to do a one-man grand jury and with all, like I said, with all the breadth of different shootings, we needed to do more than just our normal investigative subpoena process,” Becker said Tuesday.
The prosecutor's office spent hundreds of hours issuing subpoenas and re-working the evidence int he cases. They say this grand jury provided them an opportunity to speak to potential witnesses with less of a chance that they would be lying to investigators. Those coming before the grand jury facing perjury charges if they lie.
Judge David Buter at the 61st District Court acted as the one-man grand jury for the duration of the roughly six-month investigation.
A murder charge against Raymond Barrios was also announced Tuesday in the July 2019 shooting death of a 21-year-old near Fish Ladder Park. Charges against Barrios were the result of an investigative subpoena, not part of the grand jury.
Police are still searching for Barrios. If you have any information about where he is, you are asked to contact police or Silent Observer.
The following individuals are facing charges related to the effort:
- Juan Alvarado-Gomez: Perjury
- Shaun Bell Jr: Perjury, Carrying a Concealed Weapon (CCW)
- Shaun Bell Sr: Felon in Possession of a Firearm
- Abraham Delapaz-Gutierrez: Perjury
- Devon House: Perjury
- Ryan Martinez: Assault w/ Intent to Murder Felony Gang Membership Felony Firearm Armed Robbery Carrying a Concealed Weapon (CCW)
- Yareni Martinez: Perjury
- Jesus Pena: Discharging a Firearm from a Motor Vehicle Assault – Great Bodily Harm Accessory After the Fact
- Maricarmen Terraza-Torrez: Perjury
- Armondo Torrez: Assault w/ Intent to Murder Felony Gang Membership Felony Firearm Discharging a Firearm from a Motor Vehicle Assault – Great Bodily Harm Armed Robbery Carrying a Concealed Weapon (CCW)
- Daniel Torres: Perjury 3 Counts of Assault w/ Intent to Murder Felony Gang Membership Felony Firearm
- Guillermo Vazquez-Villa: Perjury Carrying a Concealed Weapon (CCW)
- Tyronn Young: Perjury Carrying a Concealed Weapon (CCW)