Detroiter Elaine Redus, grandmother of 19-year-old Darryl Smith, sends a message to the gang members that shot her grandson last night outside East English Village Preparatory Academy (Lauren Abdel-Razzaq / The Detroit News)
Detroit — A 19-year-old man was shot Friday night in the parking lot of East English Village Preparatory Academy in what police are calling a gang shooting.
Detroit Police Chief James Craig said the victim, Darryl Smith, was not involved in any gangs but happened to be caught in the line of fire when four suspects in a vehicle fired several shots into a crowd gathered outside of the school at about 9:30 p.m. Friday. The seniors at the school had just gotten done with an awards ceremony and about 100 students were gathered together afterward near the baseball diamond at the front of the school along Cadieux Road.
“He was a good Detroiter,” said Craig during a press conference at the school Saturday. “This is not acceptable. We believe this involved two local street gangs. We know who they are. They should know we’re not going to rest until we dismantle both gangs.”
Craig said prior to shooting into the crowd, the suspects shouted something related to a local gang.
Smith, who graduated last year, was at the school to visit his uncle following the awards ceremony, according to his grandmother, Elaine Redus.
She said Smith, who has two younger siblings, played high school football and had dreams of going pro. He worked to support his family and also hoped to go to college one day.
“My grandson is a good boy. He didn’t deserve any of this,” Redus said. “The streets talk. You will be found, and you will go (to prison) for the rest of your life like the animals you are.”
Police are seeking information on the four suspects that fled east from the scene Friday night. They described the vehicle as a burgundy or red Chevrolet Impala or Pontiac Grand Am. Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SPEAK-UP.
Police reported Saturday morning the victim was dead but later disclosed during a press conference he was in critical condition. Craig would not disclose the number of gunshot wounds or the nature of Smith’s injuries, saying only he was taken to St. John Hospital on the city’s east side.
The school was holding its annual Grammy Night for seniors and families, “a springtime tradition at many Detroit schools as part of senior mock elections,” district spokesman Steven Wasko said.
He said about 800 people were in attendance Friday.
“Detroit Public Schools Police Department and security personnel were present, and school leaders and others acted professionally and quickly to ensure the safety of the other families attending,” Wasko said.
The shooting occurred about a mile and a half east of where Clinton Township tree trimmer Steven Utash was violently beaten April 2 by a mob after he accidentally hit a boy with his truck and got out of the car to check on him. Craig said the two crimes were unrelated.