Developing: Police officer, suspect shot in Detroit

Rubin: Shootings, OK, but leveling a bus stop is weird

Neal Rubin
The Detroit News

Thanks to the guy who was shot in the leg – or really, to the guy who shot him – the bus shelter is gone.

People still need to get where they’re going, though, so half a dozen of them were standing Wednesday morning near the spot where a silver Honda Accord driven by a dying man jumped the curb and ran over the three commuters sitting on the bench.

Angella Thomas had heard about that and it made her nervous to go out, but then she’s usually nervous to go out.

“I stay in the house,” said Thomas, who looks younger than her 54 years despite her cane. “There’s too much stuff going on.”

There’s petty crime stuff, of course: “I don’t even like carrying my purse.” And shooting stuff: one dead here Monday and his alleged killer in critical condition, near the corner of Grand River Avenue and West Grand Boulevard.

But people getting hit by a car while they patiently await a bus? And then looking at the empty space where the shelter used to be? And thinking it could just as easily have been you, sprawled on the ground, listening for an ambulance?

That’s unsettling.

“I heard a bam,” said Terrell Spaten, 39, who was exploring the trash can at the bus stop Wednesday in search of returnable bottles.

He’d been on the West Grand side of the corner Monday, at the southeast end of a BP gas station lot. The impact came at the northwest end, along Grand River, and Spaten looked up in time to see the shelter topple.

He stepped over to take a closer peek and saw the crash victims bleeding on the ground.

“Crazy,” he said.

Gunfight has no winners

Detroit had 295 homicides in 2015, according to the police department, and 299 the year before.

We’re used to that; it takes something special, like a 6-month-old or a Grosse Pointe teenager, to truly stand out.

But getting smacked in a bus shelter ... “That’s weird,” said Charles Palmer, 34. “I hope them dudes are okay.”

They should be. The police said their injuries were not life-threatening. Beyond that, they aren’t saying much.

The dead man in the Honda was 54 and of Middle Eastern descent, and bled to death after being shot in the leg. The 40-year-old black man with whom he allegedly exchanged gunfire was shot in the head.

A few short blocks west on Grand River, at Quanie’s Hand Car Wash, Robby Bazzi and Demetrius Watts offered more detail as Watts, 24, vacuumed a black Mercedes and Bazzi, 28, smoked a cigarette.

The victim was named Ron, they said, a nice fellow who owned the car wash building and the mechanic shop across the street.

They said the 40-year-old appeared out of nowhere and fired four bullets through the front passenger window, not knowing Ron was carrying a pistol that held 15.

Ron emptied his clip, then tried to drive himself to Henry Ford Hospital two miles away and didn’t make it. The 40-year-old collapsed at Whitney and Grand River.

Ron got shot last year, Bazzi said, and was supposed to testify about it next week. Now he won’t.

Waiting for change

The metal footings of the shelter are still embedded in the sidewalk. Detroit diamonds – shards of broken glass – glimmered in the sunlight.

Sealed inside the bulletproof cashier’s cage at the BP station, Jose Nunez, 35, didn’t hear the gunshots. But the impact of sedan against bus shelter was loud.

“We don’t really have so many shootings here,” he said. Whatever does go on nearby tends to find its way to the major intersection outside his window, where a city bus pulled to the curb.

The driver came in and bought an iced tea and a pair of Jumbo Honey Buns, two for $1, one frosted and one glazed.

“It’s a strange world we live in,” the driver said. “Things change.”

A woman reading the headlines from a rack of daily newspapers looked up and said maybe they’re changing for the better.

The driver pushed the door open with his shoulder and started to walk back to his bus.

Not yet, he said.