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Recent gun violence in Grand Rapids

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Wes Bausmith illustration relating to gun violence. (Los Angeles Times/TNS)

By Mia Kerner

Grand Rapids has established itself as a city on the rise, growing its supply of eateries, businesses, art, and as of late, gun violence.

Around 12:15 a.m. on June 5, four local men became victims of gun violence. One man died at the scene, and the others were rushed to local hospitals with non life-threatening injuries. The shooting occurred on Pearl St. NW, between Monroe and Ottawa, according to Wood TV 8. Details as to the identity of the shooter(s) have not yet been released and no arrests have been made.

The victim has been identified as 25-year-old Armonie Acklin, a father of three (expecting a fourth) who was found dead at the scene. Acklin’s friends that were at the scene reported that Acklin was attempting to break up a fight that had arisen between a wedding party and others selling T-shirts from within a vehicle on Pearl Street NW when he was struck by a stray bullet. 

According to a statement from GRPD Police Chief Eric Winstrom, “Investigators are sorting out roles of those involved in the 12:15 a.m. shooting”, he disclosed. “A long-running feud between some in the wedding party and those selling items on the street led to an altercation outside Ambiance GR Kitchen & Lounge on Pearl Street.”

“It is two groups of people who knew each other,” Winstrom stated. “We didn’t see any danger to the community, it was not a random shooting.”

It has been reported that a man had opened fire using two handguns he had available in his vehicle. Acklin was hit in the back of the head and his friends were left injured. Chief Winstrom has stated that the alleged shooter has been taken into custody and has yet to make a court appearance. 

The shooting occurred just hours after the Festival of the Arts concluded its second day of the three-day long event. The final musical performance was scheduled to begin at 10 p.m. on Saturday night, leaving little time between the audience’s departure and the occurrence of the shooting.

Grand Rapids Police are not releasing additional details at this time. 

This incident is not the only example of recent gun violence in Grand Rapids, as a 13-year-old boy identified as Gabriel Hojnacki was fatally shot on May 28, and 50-year-old Joseph Wilder was killed during an armed robbery while using an ATM on May 27. Both deaths occured between Alpine and Division roads.

If you have any information regarding these shootings or other instances of gun violence in Grand Rapids, please contact GRPD detectives at (616) 456-3380 or Silent Observer at (616) 774-2345.

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