Recent Greektown shooting isn't keeping visitors away
Detroit — It was just after midnight Monday morning when gunfire ripped through Monroe and Beaubien, in the Greektown area of downtown Detroit, leaving three men wounded and others scurrying from the gunfire.
But a week after the violence, visitors told The Detroit News they were undeterred from visiting the downtown hotspot, arguing both that the violence that happened there could happen anywhere, and that people need to be aware of their surroundings everywhere.
Most were unaware what had happened a week earlier on the streets they were walking.
Jamal Wheeler, 43, of Detroit sees Greektown with a veteran eye, as a longtime window washer in the neighborhood.
"I'm down here all the time for business, all the time," Wheeler said. "I think people, for a minute, are a little cautious. The regulars down here understand that this stuff happens, and it flushes away. But the people who don't come down here often, they might pause for a little longer."
Wheeler said he washes windows for most of the block, on Monroe off Beaubien. He said he uses "visual common sense," and urges others to do the same.
"You can kind of tell where some of the knuckleheads are hanging out — but you also have to live your life," Wheeler said. "You can tell when people are trying to have a good time, and you can tell when people are trying to spark something off. When people are looking to be the event, with alcohol involved, something bad will happen."
Wheeler noticed in the brief video police released of the shooting, that while most of the crowd scatters after shots are fired, one woman just walks along casually, checking her phone.
"She didn't even flinch or look," Wheeler said. "You have some people who are brand new down here and they don't know."
Damaien Williams, 24, of Atlanta, arrived in Detroit on Friday. It was not only his first time in Detroit, it was his first time on a plane.
Why come to Detroit? Why not come to Detroit? Besides, he was in the mood for something a bit different.
"When you're used to being somewhere, it's exciting to be in a new place, seeing things you never saw, faces you've never seen," said Williams, a guest for the weekend at the Greektown Casino and Hotel. "I ain't hear about (the shooting), but it wouldn't have affected my travel. You got to be aware of your surroundings anywhere. No matter what city, state, none of that."
Joseph Schnur, 86, and his wife Pat, 78, came to Greektown Sunday from Oxford, in northern Oakland County, to eat gyros at Golden Fleece, a Mother's Day meal courtesy their son.
The morning started with a visit to Eastern Market, which they said they found sparsely populated, and continued with a trip to the Belle Isle Aquarium before lunch in Greektown.
"I used to come down here all the time" Schnur said, adding that the visits are "very seldom" these days, given the distance. Joseph uses a walking cane, but stays so physically active that he only stopped skiing last year, at 85, on orders of his wife.
"No, I hadn't heard," what happened last week, Joseph said, quickly adding: "You have to watch out what you're doing. You have to watch where you're at."
Pat hadn't heard of last week's shooting either, but said that "times have changed; that's the world we live in."
Police have charged one person: Delano Ward, 26, of Farmington Hills, who was arrested in Oak Park. Maria Miller, a spokeswoman for Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, said Ward was denied bond at his arraignment Saturday. A 23-year-old Livonia man, whose arrest was announced at a press conference on Tuesday, has since been released from jail.
The shooting in Greektown came weeks after police brass announced plans to increase patrols of the area this spring.
Sunday morning was relatively slow-going in Greektown. The high reached only 52 degrees, only 3 degrees higher than the average low temperature for Detroit in May, and about 18 degrees from the average high. Sunday also fell on Mother's Day.
Shawn and Cheryl Bromley were just departing Greektown for Rochester Sunday morning, after what Cheryl described as a successful staycation at Greektown Hotel, celebrating the couple's 17th wedding anniversary.
"We had some drinks, walked around and got some food" on Saturday," Cheryl said. The couple had been to Greektown "hundreds and hundreds of times" before. Crowds may have been a little low, Shawn thought, but he was as likely to attribute that to the weather as anything else.
Though local, they hadn't heard about the previous week's shooting. Cheryl echoed Pat Schnur's point, that times had changed.
"Nowadays, you just don't know: are they firing at one person? Are they trying to get a bunch of people? You don't know," Cheryl, 44, said.
The stay in Greektown was booked this week, after Monday's shooting had been in the news. Shawn hadn't heard but wouldn't have been deterred from the trip even if he had.
"It wouldn't have changed our plans. After stuff happens, it's usually safer anyway," Shawn said. "It's like flying after a plane crash. You can't control what everybody does, but I think there's an effort to make the area safe. We walked around last night, about 10 p.m., and didn't feel unsafe."
"It happens anywhere now," Cheryl said. "You could die walking down your steps at home."
All three shooting victims are expected to survive their injuries.
"I think knuckleheads are knuckleheads," added Shawn, 47. "Idiots find idiots."