Police in Michigan were called to a neighborhood in the crime-ridden city of Flint in response to a report of a shooting. Mourners were gathered at a park near the Dort Community School building on the north end of the city to celebrate the life of James “Tooney” Andrews who had recently passed away due to natural causes. Nearby, at Avenue A and East Witherbee Street, found a man lying on the ground next to a vehicle after being shot. The 35-year-old-man, who was not initially identified, was taken to Hurley Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.
Police Chief James Tolbert said of the May 27 shooting “This is ridiculous that people are here to mourn a person who had just died from natural causes.Everybody should be tired of this, and there shouldn’t be a person in this neighborhood who doesn’t want to tell us what happened,” according to the Flint Journal. City Councilman Wantwaz Davis, who had attended Andrews’ vigil, called for a community-wide effort to bring violence to a halt in the embattled city.
Police are seeking informatikon about the suspect in the Andrews killing. The suspect is described as a male of medium build who is approximately six feet tall. He is believed to have a long beard and to have the words “RIP Tooney” shaved onto the back of his head.
The shooting followed a spate of killings and shootings of more than a dozen persons over Memorial Day weekend. On May 22, at an apartment complex known for violence, there was a shooting that claimed the life of a 17-year-old male. In that case, a woman and a man were also shot and critically wounded. On May 23, a carjacking resulted in the shooting and critical injury of a man at a food store. In the pre-dawn hours on May 24, a shooting at a school parking lot resulted in seven injured people; two individuals have been indicted in that case. Also on May 24, a shooting left another man in critical condition.
Additionally, police discovered on May 26 the body of a woman who had been reported missing during the preceding week. A cadaver dog found the corpse in a ditch in a neighborhood on Flint’s north side. While police are investigating for evidence of a possible homicide, the identity of the victim has yet to be released.
As of May 25, there were 22 homicides committed in Flint so far this year. In 2014, there had been a 10 year low in the murder rate. That year, murders reached 30. So far, there has been an average of one killing per week in Flint in 2015, putting on track to reach at least 52 by the end of 2015 at the current rate.
Flint was once the home of several General Motors factories and had afforded an enviable life-style for working class Americans. Factory closings in the 1980s resulted in outmigration, crime, depressed home values, and a drop in tax revenues, as is the case in Detroit. Flint police face funding shortfalls while trying to cope with violence and other drug-related crime. Investigations of murder languish. For example, the murder of a political activist and Vietnam veteran Pablo Lopez - who was killed in his home in 2011 - still remains unsolved, as are numerous other murders. The Michigan State Police have deployed significant resources and manpower to the city.
In 2010, a former Michigan state legislator - Vera Rison - called for the deployment of Michigan's National Guard to bolster police efforts against crime. Brenda Clack, a Genesee County Commissioner who represented several Flint neighborhoods at that time asked County Robert Pickell about bringing in the Guard.
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