June 11, 2014 at 6:38 pm

Detroit's Cinco de Mayo parade will march on despite violence; no charges in fatal shooting this year

A shooting took place during this year's annual Cinco de Mayo parade. (Detroit News file photo)

Detroit — Violence will not shut down the city’s annual Cinco de Mayo parade, a years-long tradition in southwest Detroit, officials say.

The Mexican Patriotic Committee of Metro Detroit on Wednesday announced next year’s event, which draws a crowd of about 40,000 each year, will go on and be held on May 3.

The future of the parade had been in jeopardy following a fatal shooting May 4 along the parade route that prompted authorities to halt festivities and increase security in the neighborhood.

“The tragic occurrence ... does not define us as a community nor reflect the 50 years of wonderful cultural celebration in southwest Detroit,” Mexican Patriotic Committee Officer Gloria Rocha said in a released statement.

The decision comes after the parade committee said it convened a meeting with local residents, nonprofits, business owners and parade participants to discuss the parade.

“It was the consensus of our local stakeholders who participated in our post-event discussion to support this annual event, which acknowledges the diverse history, heritage and pride in our community,” she said. “The Mexican Patriotic Committee will continue to work with local partners, the City of Detroit and the Detroit Police Department to ensure safety remains one of our top priorities at future events.”

Andres DeJesus, 19, was killed May 4 in an altercation between two families around 1:15 p.m. near Ferdinand and Vernor Highway West.

Police have said DeJesus, who was affiliated with the Latin Counts street gang, was among a group attacking a member of the 24-year-old shooter’s family and was hit by a bullet. He was pronounced dead at Detroit Receiving Hospital.

The Wayne County Prosecutor’s office on Wednesday said a warrant request for the suspect was denied following an investigation that concluded the shooter acted in self-defense of another person.

The incident wasn’t the first to disrupt the annual parade festivities.

Organizers previously discontinued the post-parade events at Clark Park and instituted a shorter parade route following disturbances the year before.

In 2009, about 40 young men fought in the street as the parade neared a close at Clark Park, exchanging punches and throwing bottles, witnesses said then. The melee ended as Detroit police officers on motorcycles and in SUVs broke it up.

The fistfights occurred after a fatal shooting two blocks south of the parade route that was blamed on gang-related violence. In 2007, a Southgate middle school was on heightened alert after a fight that began at the Cinco de Mayo parade.

The 2009 incidents initially prompted the Mexican Patriotic Committee to consider moving the parade to suburban locations such as Wyandotte or Dearborn.

CFerretti@detroitnews.com
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