The Detroit Gun Report: The “Very Bad Stretch” Edition

While some violent crime rates may be dipping, that may not matter as long as homicide rates keep surging. Year-to-date Detroit homicides are now up by 15%. Charlie LeDuff summarizes: “Detroit’s a rough city, the most violent according to the FBI, but even by that low standard, this is a very bad stretch.” It doesn’t help that starting wage for DPD officers is just $14 – and that’s down from $15 a few years ago.

July 3: A man finishes a drug deal at a gas station, and then is pursued by police. He flashes a gun; police fire several shots, wounding him in the buttocks.

July 2: A 25-year-old father of two is shot and killed on the West side in an altercation that erupted over a game of dice.

July 2: Denzel Lee Talbert, a 22-year-old Detroiter, is charged and arraigned in the Greektown shooting that occurred on June 21st.

July 2: A Circle K clerk is held up at gunpoint in Dearborn; the location has been the target of several armed robberies in the last few months.

July 1: Around 5:15, Grosse Pointe Police receive a call about a gunman who had killed someone and was barricaded in the house. Police monitor the house for hours before realizing that it is a hoax.

July 1: Around 4 am, a black SUV holding a pair of gunmen pulls up to a 55-year-old bicyclist in a northwest neighborhood; the bicyclist is shot and killed.

June 30: A 58-year-old woman on the east side gets into a “shoot out” with a home invader; she opened fire as soon as she realizes the suspect is armed. She is shot in the hand; the suspect flees.

June 29: Three DTE Energy crews are robbed at gunpoint in Detroit and Southfield (two Monday, one Sunday) after a storm knocks out power for 50,000 people in Wayne County alone. DTE Energy is offering a $2,500 reward for tips.

June 28: Five teenage boys – ages 14 to 19 – are shot at a block party on the east side. It is the third block party shooting in two weeks.

The Detroit Gun Report: The “Broken Record” Edition

It was “broken record” week in Detroit, double entendre intended: 27 people shot in one weekend (the city averages 17.6 nonfatal shootings and 5.2 homicides a week). Chief James Craig pleaded with residents to provide tips and then came under fire for labeling shooters as “urban terrorists.” On a (figuratively) lighter note, police used Chips Ahoy, hostess cupcakes and eventually a cleverly constructed ramp to rescue a 500-pound pig from a Detroit basement.

Never duplicated, never exhaustive: here’s your weekly gun report.

June 26Four people are shot at a block party in Detroit, where about 100 people were in attendance.

June 26Two men and one woman are found dead from gunshot wounds in a Detroit apartment. Neighbors heard gunshots the night before but didn’t call police because “they didn’t see anything.” DPD stresses the importance of calling police when gunshots are heard: “I know people are desensitized to gunshots, but when they hear them, call. We need to get there.”

June 24: A high-speed police chase and subsequent crash kills two children on the sidewalk. The suspects were being chased on suspcious of possessing illegal concealed weapons.

June 22: A mile east of the Detroit fireworks display, a 37-year-old man is shot to death after a verbal altercation.

June 22Darwin Harris, Jr., a 19-year-old DJ, is shot to death in the Barrel & Bottle party story at 7:30 pm. He usually spent time hanging out at the party store; a man opened the door and fired shots at him.

June 22A string of early-morning armed carjackings occur on I-96 targeting people going to work. In one incident, the suspects brake in front of a car, compel the driver to pass on the left; the suspects then ram the car into the divider, hold up the driver at gunpoint and steal the car.

June 21: A 19-year-old boy is shot to death in Greektown close to midnight; a 21-year-old is also wounded with non-life threatening injuries.

June 21: A boy turns himself in after shooting a 14-year-old girl in the mouth in Pontiac; they were left unattended with the firearm, and he thought it was unloaded.

June 21: A fight breaks out between dog owners on Detroit’s Eastside; a mother and her two-year-old child – both bystanders – are shot in the legs.

June 21: An employee at Pete’s Grill and Coney shoots and kills an armed robber, who was “waving the gun back and forth” at the roughly twenty patrons in the restaurant at the time.

June 20: A 19-year-old girl is shot and suffers serious injuries in Greektown.

June 20Twelve people are shot in a block party with around 300 people, including children, at 8:30 pm. One victim, 19-year-old Malik Jones, dies of gunshot wounds. He was shot previously that month but did not go to police with details; the gunman is believed to be the same. Jones allegedly threw the party to celebrate the neighborhood’s “no snitch” policy.

June 20: A man is assaulted by four men and shot while walking along 8 Mile at Wyoming. The fourth man, apparently a bystander getting gas at the Mobile nearby, joins in the assault as it progresses.

June 19: A 40-year-old woman is shot in the leg during a fight in Canton.

June 19: A 23-year-old man is found shot to death in his Redford driveway; the shooting is believed to have occurred the night before.

The Detroit Gun Report: The “1 in 4″ Edition

A new study finds that nationwide, 1 in 4 kids have been directly exposed to weapons violence. This number now includes the 9-year-old who watched his father shot to death last week in Detroit while waiting in a Wendy’s drive-thru and the 5-year-old in Charleston who was told to “play dead” to survive the heinous shooting during a Thursday night bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Here are the Detroit-area guns that made the news last week. Remember, this is never exhaustive: in Detroit, there have been on average 2.4 shootings a day in 2015. The city finishes up the first six months of the year with a homicide rate somewhat elevated – by 6% – as compared to last year’s.

June 17: A 14-year-old is charged in the shooting of his mother the week before.

June 16: Father and veteran DeAngelo Turner is shot to death inside a gas station on the Westside around 3 pm. His mother describes him as a “Christmas miracle”; family and friends search for the killer.

June 16: A man is found shot to death inside a parked van on a residential street near Hubbell and Fenkell on the Westside.

June 16: A disabled man named Clarence Cody is shot in the back of the head and killed. Unable to walk, Cody spent his days sitting in the same spot on Pinecrest Drive and came to be known as the “Mayor of Pinecrest.” He leaves behind an 18-year-old daughter and baby boy due in a month.

June 16: At 1:30 am a 22-year-old woman is shot in the leg while walking home. A passerby found her on the ground bleeding. Police are unsure of the circumstances; it does not appear to be a drive-by shooting.

June 12: A 29-year-old man is shot and killed while sitting in his SUV on Crescent Street in Detroit, holding a neighbor’s infant in his arms. Another neighbor fires at the suspect before he flees; it is unknown whether the suspect is wounded.

June 12: A Westland man is charged in the murder of Christopher Reed, a man in his late 20s who was killed while waiting in the drive-thru at Wendy’s with his two sons. One son was injured but survived.

The Detroit Gun Report: The “Operation Double Down” Edition

On June 1, 2015, the Detroit One “violence reduction” partnership unveiled a new initiative to “double down” on gun violence by raising awareness about penalties for illegal gun possession in Detroit. This is their second time around with public awareness campaigns; last year, they focused on carjackings and produced these PSAs that, frankly, seemed straight of the 80s. The partnership claims their approach works: carjackings dropped by 32%. Now, they want to take on gun violence.

Here are some of the Detroit (and Detroit-area) guns that made the news over the last week. On average, 2.4 shootings are reported to police in Detroit per day. This list is therefore not exhaustive.

June 12: Martin Zale, shooter in the “Road Rage Incident” in Livingston county is sentenced to 25 to 50 years in prison for second-degree murder.

June 11: A 14-year-old boy on the Westside shoots and wounds his mother during an argument. She recovers in the hospital from “serious” injuries; he is arrested the next morning unarmed.

June 10: A 13-year-old is shot in the leg after getting caught up in the cross-fire of two cars, wondering “I’m a good kid. I never did anything to anybody.”

June 9: Dietta Gueye, survivor of cancer and now two home invasions, opens fire on five burglars attempting to enter her home at 2:37 am. They flee after firing one shot into her leg. She explains, “I hope they take this as a lesson…Beware, you never know if someone you are trying to hurt is packing.”

June 9: Ivan Berrien of Detroit is sentenced to life in prison on child abuse and gun charges. He left a 13-year-old girl unsupervised with a rifle; she fatally shot herself in the head.

June 8: A 27-year-old woman opens fire on an armed carjacker on the Westside just blocks from the 6th Precinct station, hitting him in the wrist as he flees.

June 7: A Detroit police officer exchanges gun fire with an unknown gunman. Officer is shot in the foot; an 18-year-old bystander is shot in the chin. No arrests have been made, and DPD is “vague” about whether the officer shot himself.

June 7: A father and son waiting in the Wendy’s drive thru line are shot when two armed men approached their car and demanded money; the father was killed, and the son survived a shot in the hand. It appears that the father was armed but complied with the demands of the gunmen to hand over money.

Crime and Love: An Artifact from DPD Archives

After the 1967 Detroit Riot, the Detroit Police Department hired a Public Relations agent who eventually decided to donate his personal files to the Detroit Public Library. I’m combing through the archives now, but just couldn’t wait to share this particular artifact…on love and crime, circa 1969.

2015-06-02 15.12.01

Police Talk, Police Work

I’m interviewing police for my new research on “gun policy on the ground.” It looks at the frontline workers – from bureaucrats to police chiefs – who are charged with implementing US gun policy. I didn’t think it was possible that I could enjoy a project as much as I enjoyed my work on gun carriers, but I was wrong — I’ve already learned a great dealing talking to cops, and what I’ve enjoyed the most is the ability of police officers to move effortlessly between slogans and story-telling. In my interviews, the heightened wits and unexpected twists of police work meet the poetic simplicity with which police and other frontline workers approach and understand their work. This is a short-but-growing list of some of these sayings:

* “A Happy Wife is a Happy Life.” (Officer counseling someone who was coming to gun board to get his gun license reinstated after his PPO had expired)

* “You have one foot in jail, one foot out.” (Rookie officer, talking about current public attitudes about public law enforcement)

* “Don’t assume anything until you see the palms of both hands.” (Retired officer, talking about his experiences with gun violence over decades of service)

* “You can’t arrest your way out of a problem.” (Voiced by officers of all rank)

* “The only bad arrest is no arrest.” (Officer commenting on domestic violence arrests)

More to come…