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Grand Rapids officials urge cooperation with police after tenth shooting in five days

Interim Police Chief David Kiddle standing at podium in the park
Bryce Huffman
Michigan Radio
Interim Chief of Police for the Grand Rapids Police Department David Kiddle gives remarks at a press conference in Grand Rapids' Joe Taylor Park after an unptick in gun violence in the city

Grand Rapids officials and community members spoke out against recent uptick in shootings around the city at a press conference Friday.

There have been ten shootings resulting in six people being injured in the city this week. City officials are in talks with neighborhood associations and community activists to find solutions to the violence.

David Kiddle, the interim Chief of Police for the Grand Rapids Police Department, says there has been one arrest made so far in connection to the shootings.

Kiddle says there have been 74 shootings, including the ten from this week, throughout the city since January.  That’s a 57 percent increase from that timeframe in 2018.

The message from officials and community members alike today was simple: if you know anything about the shootings, come forward.

City Commissioner Joe Jones is urging people to come forward for their own sake.  

“Do it for your own children, your own brothers and sisters, your own parents. Do it out of the love you have for those that are closest to you,” Jones said.

Multiple officials and residents urged people with information to call The Silent Observer, a non-profit that helps report information about crimes anonymously.

Robert Womack, a Kent County commissioner who grew up in Grand Rapids’ southeast side where most of the shootings took place, says many people in the city don’t speak to police, but that can be hurtful in situations like this.

“So we have to break the code of silence on what we call in our community senseless crimes,” Womack said.

City Manager Mark Washington says the city commission will talk about ending the gun violence in more detail at its next public meeting on July 9.

Although there is no concrete plan, Washington says city officials will continue working with community members and clergy to find solutions to the underlying issues that cause shootings.

Bryce Huffman was Michigan Radio’s West Michigan Reporter and host of Same Same Different. He is currently a reporter for Bridge Detroit.
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