Lansing Shootings Update: Mayor Urging Parents To Help, Homeowner-victim Shares Experience

By: Brian Johnson Email
By: Brian Johnson Email

Now more than two days later and still no suspect in the shooting near Sexton High School.

"We're still getting calls, and we're still working through some of the witnesses that are now coming forward. So the good news is it's progressing in a positive direction," said Officer Robert Merritt of the Lansing Police Department.

The investigation has taken longer than police would like because they say the victims are scared.

"We are looking for more direct and more precise and concise answers and it's coming, it's just taking a little bit more time than we expected. I do understand the fear of retaliation," said Officer Merritt. "If you're that young, with the different groups out there, you'd fear them so we're working through that."

We're learning more from neighbors who said they heard several gun shots Tuesday afternoon during the shooting. One neighbor said there was upwards of 30 rounds fired.

After the shots occurred, eyewitnesses said they saw a big vehicle quickly drive away. They were not sure whether it was an SUV or van. Many folks would not be interviewed on-camera fearing they could be retaliated against by the shooters.

If you were to walk through the neighborhood, you'd think it was the last place a shooting would happen. There are nice homes, well kept yards and freshly cut grass.

The Mayor hopes the community can come together and prevent future shootings from occurring.

"I do continue to challenge parents and relatives to step up. You know when your youngster is in trouble," said Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero. "There are uncles and aunts out there right now that know the young person in their life is headed down the wrong road. We need to make sure those kids are plugged into something; that adults can make a phone call not to get their youngster arrested but to get them engaged."

The mayor hopes groups like Parent Teachers Associations, Big Brothers Big Sisters and other mentors can come together and wrap the community around schools to have a positive impact with teens.

Tynesia Phifer owns the home that was shot on Mary Avenue Wednesday. She thinks the two shootings are connected. Lansing Police have not confirmed that but are investigating if that's the case.

Phifer says 10 bullets hit her home.

"I'm scared because my daughter could have been shot, my granddaughter could have been shot, I could have been shot. It's very terrifying. I couldn't sleep last night," said Tynesia Phifer. "I was laying in my bed and I heard a bunch of pow, pow, pow. I jumped up I looked out the window saw four guys running from the back of my apartment building and my niece was yelling that she had been shot."

Thursday Phifer went to the 54A District Court to see the people who are responsible. The five suspects arrested for the Mary Avenue shooting were initially going to be arraigned Thursday, but that has since been pushed back to Friday.

"They could have killed me or any of my family members. So I want punishment to the fullest extent," said Phifer.


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