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Shots rang out. Three kids were in the line of fire. One woman saved them.

Dustin Dwyer

Last month, a disagreement on a residential street in Muskegon turned into a massive gun battle. Six men were armed. Dozens of shots sprayed in all directions.

At the house directly behind the gunfight, three children played on a porch.

And one woman ran into the line of fire to try to save them.

Today we begin a three-part series about the incident, and look at how the dramatic rise of gun crimes in Muskegon is putting more kids at risk.

Below is an excerpt of the first story in our series. To hear the full story, visit our State of Opportunity page

The series begins with what happened on Monroe Ave. on the evening of July 9th

It wasn’t quite yet dinnertime.

Ten year old Brooklyn Ridge was walking her dog Scruffy up to the front porch of a white wooden house on Monroe. Her friends Cameron and Kayden were there. Her brother was inside.

Behind her in the street, a group of men were fighting. The fight got worse.

"They started off as punching and screaming," Ridge says. "Then it ended up as a gun battle."

Heather Tanner, Cameron and Kayden’s mom, was inside the house.

I asked Tanner what was the first thing that caught her attention.

"A bullet coming into my mattress, through the walls of the house."

Brooklyn’s parents, Jim and Shannon Ridge, were in their second floor apartment around the corner when they first heard the shots.  

Before they could even get down the steps of their apartment, dozens of shots had been fired.

"It was basically a war zone," Jim Ridge says. "That's how many rounds went off." 

To read what happened next, and to hear our full story, go to our State of Opportunity page.

Dustin Dwyer reports enterprise and long-form stories from Michigan Public’s West Michigan bureau. He was a fellow in the class of 2018 at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. He’s been with Michigan Public since 2004, when he started as an intern in the newsroom.
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