Detroit cops: Teen shootings random
Detroit — The east-side shootings Monday night of four teens that left one dead and three wounded, originally thought to be premeditated, are now likely the result of a random robbery gone bad, police said Wednesday.
University Liggett School student Paige Stalker, 16, of Grosse Pointe Farms died from injuries suffered in the shooting near Charlevoix and Phillip on Detroit's east side, when a man reportedly pulled up in a tan Cadillac and opened fire. Dozens of shell casings were found at the scene.
In the hours after the shooting, police thought someone had targeted the teens who had stopped their car to smoke marijuana, but further investigation now suggests that isn't the case, Detroit Police Officer Adam Madera said.
"We're now working under the premise that it was a robbery gone bad," Madera said. "Our investigators re-interviewed the victims; their stories are more consistent now. We're working under the assumption that this was random."
That will make the crime harder to solve, Madera said.
"Anyone who saw anything, please download our app and leave a tip on there, or call Crime Stoppers," he said. "That's what it's going to come down to now: We'll likely have to rely on a witness we don't have yet."
There has been much discussion why Stalker and her friends, three others from Grosse Pointe and one from Detroit, were in that neighborhood, where violence is rampant. In December alone, within a two-mile radius of the shooting scene, there have been 29 assaults, eight robberies including four carjackings and one sexual assault, according to Detroit Police crime statistics.
Madera said the fact the teens, all 15- and 16-year-olds, were in a desolate part of the city doesn't concern investigators.
"That's not the focus now," he said. "The fact is, they were there. Why they were there is more of a parental issue than a police issue."
As the gunman approached the car, the teens inside felt fear and panic, one of them said.
Demetrius Herndon, 16, told Fox 2 News he was "scared" just before the gunman opened fire.
"I didn't know what to do," said Herndon, who was wounded in the shoulder but has since been released from the hospital.
"A man with a car, he rolled right past us, he stopped — not directly right in front of us. He got out of the car, he had a gun in his hand."
According to police, the man — who was described as a black man wearing camouflage and military fatigues — fired about 30 shots, wounding Herndon and two other teens.
The area where the teens stopped, west of Alter and south of Mack, is remote and desolate, scarred by vacant lots, abandoned homes and graffiti-marked buildings.
"He shot the girl in the head, shot Mia in the arm, shot me in my arm," said Herndon, who was treated at the Grosse Pointe campus of Beaumont Hospital on Cadieux Road.
One teen remains in the hospital.
Dozens of friends attended a candlelight vigil under holiday lights at Grosse Pointe Woods City Hall Tuesday night.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers of Michigan at (800) 773-2587.
Detroit News Staff Writer Tom Greenwood and The Associated Press contributed.