Driver shot on I-94 targeted in dispute, police say

Candice Williams, and Christine Ferretti
The Detroit News
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Detroit — A Friday afternoon shooting on Interstate 94 left a 28-year-old man critically injured and sparked concern among city leaders over increasingly brazen acts of violence.

Michigan State Police said the gunfire was not random. The victim was struck in the head, midsection and leg while driving west on I-94 near the Lodge Freeway.

“There may have been some type of incident or dispute that led up to this shooting,” Lt. Calvin Hart said. “It is believed that the individuals in the vehicle were targeted by somebody.”

Detroit City Councilwoman Mary Sheffield late Friday denounced the violence and urged those with tips to come forward.

“Crime in our city is becoming disturbingly more heinous and its perpetrators increasingly more brazen,” Sheffield said. “It’s past time for us as individuals, as a collective and as a government to respond appropriately with all available resources to root out the violence plaguing our city.”

Friday’s shooting came one day after a man died and a woman, 19, was injured while driving with two children in the city’s Boston-Edison neighborhood.

The pair were headed north in a conversion van on Rosa Parks near Boston about 7 p.m. Thursday when an occupant in a black Chevrolet Impala with silver trim opened fire, Detroit police said.

The 27-year-old man driving was rushed to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Police said Friday the woman is in stable condition. The children, both under age 7, were not injured.

“We must remain vigilant in our efforts to prevent senseless violence,” Sheffield added. “It is incumbent upon us all to develop a healthy disdain for the violence in our community and do our part to end it.”

Authorities on Friday did not have descriptions of the shooters in either incident.

State police said they spoke with the Friday victim and used police dogs to search for evidence. It’s unclear if anything was found.

The shooting unfolded around 12:30 p.m., when multiple shots were fired at the driver’s side of the vehicle, Hart said.

The victim’s 25-year-old female passenger was not injured and has been talking with detectives about the incident, as is a witness who stopped at the scene, he said.

“Due to the situation, (the passenger) may be still feeling some trauma from the situation and she may not be able to give us information that we need,” Hart said. “That doesn’t mean that we won’t be following up with her to get more information as the investigation continues.”

Police responded after receiving calls from motorists passing the scene. The victim was rushed to Henry Ford Hospital.

“Opening up gunfire on a freeway like 94 around that time could be very dangerous to passing motorists,” Hart said.

Police shut down I-94 west from Interstate 75 to the Lodge for several hours after the incident, causing backups on local freeways. But it reopened in time for rush hour.

Community activist the Rev. W.J. Rideout said groups in the city have been working together to curb violence, but it’s a monumental task.

“I’m not surprised the incident took place — the shooting on the freeway. ... It cuts to the core. It hurts deeply,” Rideout said. “This is just a repetitive situation where we find careless people in the city who do not care about lives. Until we resolve not doing evil to one another and being hateful to one another, it’s not going to change.”

Rideout, pastor of All God’s People Church in Detroit, said a stronger focus on faith and respect is what’s needed in the city.

“We’re saying man up, guns down,” he said. “Resolve the issues and problems through love and through communication. That’s the bottom line.”

Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to call the Michigan Intelligence Operations Center at (855) MICH-TIP or Crime Stoppers at (800) 773-2587.

(313) 222-2311

Staff writer Nicquel Terry contributed.

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