Official: ‘Downtown is safe’ despite weekend shootings

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Grand Rapids police and officials are reminding citizens the city is still a safe place to be despite a pair of shootings during Saturday night’s fireworks.

Twenty-year-old Saul Espinoza was shot and killed on 6th Street and Front Avenue Saturday night. A female victim was also taken to the hospital with injuries from that shooting.

There was another shooting prior to the deadly one, around 10:30 p.m. near the Big Boy downtown where two young men were hurt and taken to the hospital. Their condition is not known at this time.

Police said the shootings are under investigation and cannot confirm if they are connected.

“These things are isolated. What I can tell you is that wasn’t a random victim in that situation,” Deputy Chief Eric Payne said.

Downtown Grand Rapids Incorporated CEO Tim Kelly says this is not indicative of the culture downtown.

“Downtown is safe. There are many events throughout the year many of them without incident,” Kelly said.

Grand Rapids police agree.

“This is not only a police matter, this is a city matter. City hall is standing with us. Community members are standing with us. That’s what we need to put out there, is that we are working together, and police cannot solve this alone,” Payne said.

Anyone with information on either incident is urged to call Grand Rapids police at 616-456-3400 or Silent Observer at 616-774-2345.

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  • C

    I think Deputy Chief Payne would be a good choice to be Chief. However, I think his notion about City Hall’s support is, unfortunately, wrong. The city’s administration supports the ‘community members’, true. But the police? No way, and it’s been that way since the beginning of George Heartwell’s liberal, mayoral love-in.

  • Tom

    Yes please don’t be threatened to come spend your money downtown bc we have invested so much into it for our profits

  • Parent

    Learned a few years ago that the fireworks in GR are not a family event. Fights all around us, people yelling and swearing, people smoking pot. All with the police around as they did nothing. We’ve stayed away since.

  • lml25

    Say it over and over again.This is your mantra given to you by the same people who are destroying the city:”Downtown is safe,downtown is safe,downtown is safe.”If you get shot….whoops–“it’s unacceptable.”
    What’s unacceptable is the mayor,city commissioners and city manager’s decision-making now and previous to now.By compounding previous mistakes with more of the same–multi-story.low income dwellings–overseeing section 8 rental properties,the crime occurring now is only curable by reversing those decisions.
    Payne is not a good choice for police chief–I saw him today–not the right responses–too reliant on black organizations who are not interested in a safe Grand Rapids.If they were,Chicago,Baltimore and St.Louis,would not have anarchy.Gentrify and quit trying to attract low income minorities–those are the only solutions.

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