Suspect charged, denied bail in Detroit weekend mass shooting

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

The suspect in a mass shooting in Detroit last weekend that left two people dead and six injured was formally charged Wednesday and denied bail.

Winston Kirtley Jr. was arraigned in 36th District Court on charges including first-degree murder and assault with intent to murder, Detroit police said in a statement.

Kirtley

A magistrate returned Kirtley to jail and scheduled a probable cause conference for Aug. 18.

“I have always known that at times the most trivial events can cause the heaviest damage,” Prosecutor Kym Worthy said in a statement. "The alleged motive here is way beyond the pale and has now changed lives forever.

“It is clear and has been clear for some time that absolutely nothing is sacred when it comes to gun violence these days. It is also apparent that there is little political will to control the mechanisms behind it.”

Kirtley was arrested early Sunday at the scene in the 11600 block of Coyle.

The shooting unfolded when the homeowner was angered over people attending a birthday party across the street, police Chief James White told reporters.

Kirtley allegedly shot eight people with a rifle after an argument escalated, authorities said Wednesday.

Two people, identified as Toyake Thirkeild, 39, and Andre Willis, 38, were fatally wounded. Six others reported as injured were: a 40-year-old man, a 35-year-old woman, a 35-year-old man, a 39-year-old woman, a 19-year-old man and a 32-year-old woman, all of Detroit, according to the release.

“It’s incredibly sad that two families have to bury their loved ones who were killed over a minor dispute by someone who had no respect for the lives of others,” White said in a statement Tuesday. 

“Thankfully, our officers were able to take this suspect into custody before anyone else was hurt, but this shooting never should have happened. We need every business, every faith-based organization, every school and every Detroiter to step up and work together to put an end to the violence we’re seeing.”

Medical debris is strewn about at the corner of Plymouth and Coyle following an overnight shooting, Sunday, July 31, 2022.

Other recent mass shootings in Detroit include a brawl in May that led to four people being shot; a July 2021 shooting outside an eastside banquet hall that left six wounded; and an April 2021 candlelight vigil in which four were shot.

Sunday's mass shooting was part of a violent weekend in the city that police said included seven homicides and 24 nonfatal shootings.

Despite the spate, through Monday, there were 542 nonfatal shootings and 176 homicides in Detroit so far in 2022, declines of 5% and 15%, respectively, over the same period last year, officials said.