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Following multiple shootings at pop-up party, local leaders take action

Between the afternoon of July 25 through early the morning of July 26, there were 12 shootings in the city of Flint. One individual was in critical condition as of approximately 4 p.m. July 26, according to Flint Police Chief Phil Hart.

“We made multiple arrests,” Hart said. “We’ve recovered multiple weapons in connection with these crimes, and additional arrests are likely.”

Six individuals were shot at a pop-up party police tried to stop and were in good condition at the time.

“We explained that this type of activity was illegal,” Hart said “We closed it down in two other locations, and they decided to move it to the Hallwood Plaza. It just ballooned from there.”

The parties have been occurring around the city, and this was not the first at Hallwood Plaza. The Flint Police Department was on site, attempting to get those responsible for the party to shut it down as the shooting began.

“It started out as a fight in the crowd, and someone fired a weapon, and there were multiple shots fired.”

Numerous police agencies from across the county helped once the shooting started.

Mayor Sheldon Neeley said pop-up parties have been a nuisance inside the city of Flint. Although the venue had been shut down before, Neeley said it was due in part to social media that pop up parties could be rescheduled and repopulate in a different place.

“We have shut down these type of activities in the city of Flint for the last three weeks with the great help and great work of our police chief;  Phil Hart, deputy police chief; Devon Bernritter and also our special investigative unit that’s been following the activities of these gatherings,” Neeley said. “These gatherings are illegal and they’re not smart.”

According to Neeley, two and a half times more police officers were engaged on the night of July 26 from the city of Flint; virtually 20% of the total Flint Police Department. In addition, the Michigan State Police group almost doubled their level of patrol.

“They watched as we saw this gathering; this pop up party go from 50 cars to almost a couple hundred in a matter of minutes,” Neeley said. “They were deployed to try to disperse the activity that was going on and they were on site when the shooting broke out.”

Almost 3,000 attendees were at the party, according to Neeley. Neeley said the same happenings were occurring in Chicago, Detroit and other places.

“We saw our city jail close, through COVID-19, being proactive, making sure that no persons in that jail would be affected,” Neeley said. “The county runs the city lockup. The county evacuated probably 20% of the population there. Since that time we’ve seen small engagements and upticks in crime.”

Neeley said this was not the first time there has been gun violence in Flint’s history.

“The biggest gun violence issue seen in Flint’s history was on Clio Road when 13 people were shot in the early 2000s. This time last year, six people were shot on Clio Road.”

Neeley said the city of Flint would no longer tolerate gun violence or let people exploit them for these type of activities.

“There’s an executive order in the state of Michigan. No more than 100 outside. Everyone is to wear their mask. No more than 50 indoors. This is not a recommendation. This is about safety.”

Dr. Bobby Mukkamala said there was a time he was scared about the curve of illness and the deaths related to COVID-19.

“We’re pretty much where we were in April again,” he said.

Mukkamala said bullets had flew in Flint and it looked like nobody died because of it over the last couple days. However, he said if of 1,000 people at the party 100 of them spread the infection, it was certain people would die.

City councilman Maurice Davis said Flint and its residents would no longer tolerate lawlessness, and the residents should not be scared in their own homes.

“We must be conscious that when bullets fly, it really can go to anybody,” said Pastor Jeffrey Hawkins of Prince of Peace Missionary Baptist Church.

Neeley said since the press conference held approximately a week prior, guns, vehicles and large amounts of cash had been collected. He said four promoters will be working with the city of Flint who will serve as the gap between law enforcement and those engaging in reckless activity. They will follow guidelines from medical professionals and scientists, as well as follow the governor’s executive orders.

A permit was sought for the pop-up party, but it was not obtained, and a concert was recently cancelled in the same site. Many of the parties visitors are believed to be from outside of the area, with some being from out of state.

 

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