By Braeden Pelton and James Herold
A 24-year-old man was shot and killed at 7:16 p.m. on Tuesday, May 24 in an alley by the intersection of Cherry St. SE and Division Avenue.
The man was identified as Naquie Malik Mit and his death was confirmed as a homicide.
Witnesses have claimed seeing a large group gathered around Pekich Park prior to the shooting. Another witness stated they heard at least five to seven gunshots fired.
The Grand Rapids Police Department released more information to WZZM 13. According to that release, GRPD has yet to arrest any suspects, but are actively searching. They do not believe that the shooting was random. GR Police Chief Eric Winstrom has stated that there is no current threat to public safety.
As far as Winstrom is concerned, the increase in violence is directly related to the hot summer months.
“Most cities across the northern section of the country see an uptick in violence as the weather warms up,” Winstrom stated in an email to The Collegiate.
Winstrom believes that proper recruitment and community outreach can be an efficient way to help curb violence in Grand Rapids.
“Building relationships and trust with the community is the foundation of effective policing,” Winstrom stated. “The department is authorized to have 305 sworn officers. We are very focused on recruiting, especially to increase BIPOC and women officers, and expect staffing to be at 290 sworn officers by September, just 15 below the authorized number. We launched a mobile crisis response unit in conjunction with Network180 to improve outcomes to service calls involving mental health and/or substance use crisis. We are using a DICE (data-informed community engagement) model to engage in problem-solving initiatives with our community and maximize the use of data to provide timely and accurate responses to crime hot spots.”
Winstrom and the GRPD have already made an effort in the past year to stem the tide of gun violence in the community.
“Last year, we changed our patrol assignments to take a neighborhood policing approach,” Winstrom said. “This means that officers are consistently patrolling the same geographic areas and are better able to build relationships with residents and businesses and increase opportunities for non-enforcement-based interactions. The city approved funding for the Cure Violence program. Cure Violence’s mission is to treat violence as an epidemic, and to work within the community to stop the spread while also focusing on root causes. Each person in the community has a role to play in our collective safety. Make sure to lock your car and home or apartment, even if you will be gone for a few minutes. Keep guns locked up. Be aware of your surroundings. And if you see something, say something. Silent Observer is available for those who wish to remain anonymous.”
If you have any information, contact GRPD at 616-456-3400. Or if you’d like to remain anonymous, contact the Silent Observer number at 616-774-2345.