Parents gunned down at Detroit gas station while mother held 9-month-old baby

George Hunter
The Detroit News

Detroit — A 9-month-old girl was nestled in her mother's arms in the passenger seat of a parked car Monday when two men ran up to the vehicle and opened fire, killing the woman and the driver, the child's father, police officials said.

In what investigators say was a targeted hit, the 22-year-old Detroit residents were gunned down at about 8:30 p.m. at the Marathon gas station at West Warren and Ashton on the city's west side.

Detroit Police Chief James White, flanked by Crime Stoppers of Michigan President Dan DiBardino, activist Malik Shabazz and Deputy Chief Todd Bettison outside the gas station at West Warren and Ashton on Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021, where two people were shot and killed.

"This was not a random act of violence," Detroit Police Chief James White said at a Tuesday press conference at the crime scene. "We're certain that they were targeted ... we're thankful that child was not injured, but she lost both her parents."

State child care workers arrived at the gas station Monday and released the girl to her grandmother, while police focused on finding the killers, said Cmdr. Michael McGinnis, who supervises the department's Homicide Section.

McGinnis said the suspects sprinted through the gas station lot toward the parked Ford 500 brandishing their pistols.

"The offenders came from the north ... both of them were armed with handguns, guns in hand, (they) ran up to the vehicle, and fired shots into the vehicle," McGinnis said. "Both the subjects then fled northbound on Ashton Street, and from there unknown."

McGinnis said both suspects were slender Black men. One wore a black hooded sweatshirt with a red stripe, black sweatpants with a red stripe and dark tennis shoes. The second suspect wore a blue sweatshirt, black sweatpants with a white stripe, and light-colored tennis shoes, McGinnis said.

White, who is a licensed mental health counselor, said it's difficult to tell what long-term effect the violent episode will have on the child.

"You're a kid growing up without your parents; that in and of itself is going to bring trauma to you," he said. "It's just horrific. There are no words for it. I can't imagine what the families are going through. You've got two families that have to bury two 22-year-olds.

"And you've got a 9-month-old who'll have to be raised by her (grandmother), and who someday will be told the story about what happened," the chief said. "So think about that, and if you know anybody who did this, give us a call."

White said the gas station participates in Project Green Light, the program in which business owners install high-definition video cameras and lighting at their establishments. The video feeds are sent to the Detroit police Real-Time Crime Center, where civilians and police officers monitor hundreds of camera feeds. Investigators are poring over video from Monday’s fatal shooting, White said.

Crime Stoppers of Michigan President Dan DiBardino implored anyone with information to phone in an anonymous tip. 

"We won't ask for your name, we won't ask for your telephone number — all we need is information that will lead to an arrest."

Community activist Malik Shabazz, who often leads groups through neighborhoods passing out flyers to help identify crime suspects, added: "This slime, this crime and this crime must stop. Someone knows. Someone always knows."

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers of Michigan at (800) SPEAK-UP (773-2587), or the Detroit Police Homicide Section at (313) 596-2260.

(313) 222-2134

Twitter: @GeorgeHunter_DN