Detroit police chief: 'One of Detroit's babies was shot sleeping in his bed'

George Hunter
The Detroit News

Detroit — The city's top cop Wednesday condemned two shootings involving victims "who are some of our most vulnerable community members" — a 4-year-old boy and an 81-year-old man.

The incidents happened three miles and three hours apart on the city's northwest side, Detroit police Chief James White said during a press conference Wednesday. Both victims suffered nonfatal gunshot wounds, the chief said.

"One of Detroit's babies was shot sleeping in his bed," White said of the 3 a.m. incident involving the 4-year-old boy in the 18400 block of Stout. "It's unspeakable, it's unnecessary and it's outrageous."

Assistant Police Chief Charles Fitzgerald said investigators have gathered shell casings from the two shooting scenes and have entered them into the National Integrated Ballistic Identification System.

Several shots were fired into the house where the boy slept. He was struck in the buttocks, Fitzgerald said.

"There were four other children home at the time, along with the mother and her brother," Fitzgerald said.

No witnesses have come forward, Fitzgerald said.

"This is one where we really, really need the community's help," he said. Fitzgerald said detectives initially thought nearby doorbell cameras may have captured the shooting, "but that didn't pan out," he said.

Three hours later and three miles southeast, at about 6 a.m., an 81-year-old motorist was shot at the intersection of Asbury Park and Keeler, Fitzgerald said.

Detroit police are seeking two people of interest for the shooting of an elderly man.

"The victim was traveling westbound on Keeler attempting to turn onto Asbury Park, when he almost ran into two individuals who were crossing the street," Fitzgerald said. "The victim slowed down and attempted to roll down the window to apologize.

"The subject with a weapon fired multiple rounds, striking our victim."

Detectives uncovered doorbell video from a nearby home "which caught (the suspects) running past a house," Fitzgerald said.

One of the men was carrying a bag, so detectives pored over video from a nearby gas station. "They believe (the suspects) were there buying stuff," Fitzgerald said. "We believe they live in the neighborhood."

White, who holds a counseling degree, said the 4-year-old shooting victim is expected to recover physically from his injury, "but this kid's traumatized. He's been shot. He's a 4-year-old."

White said nonfatal shootings in the city are down 29% and homicides down 22% over 2021, "but when you have a baby shot, that means nothing, those are mere numbers."

"There are a number of things we can do (about violence) from a policing standpoint, but we need community and clergy," White said. "By the time police are called, a whole lot of bad things have already happened.

"There are so many factors; education, poverty, so many things that happen before we get here. But now that we're here, we're going to do what we do well and find whoever did this."

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers of Michigan at (800) SPEAK-UP (773-2587), or log onto DPD Rewards TV.

(313) 222-2134

Twitter: @GeorgeHunter_DN