Detroit Police Chief James Craig talks to media, Sunday, June 21, 2015, near the scene of a block party where three men exchanged gunfire on Saturday in Detroit. At least one person is dead and several wounded at the event attended by hundreds. (Tanya Moutzalias/The Ann Arbor News via AP)
DETROIT (AP) — A wall of silence surrounds a shootout at a block party in Detroit that left a 19-year-old gunman dead and 11 other people wounded, police Chief James Craig said Sunday from the site where about 300 people had barbecued and celebrated hours earlier.
Standing on basketball courts where the shooting happened about 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Chief James Craig said officers are seeking two men believed to have exchanged gunfire with the victim, Malik Jones. So far, he said, witnesses and the injured haven’t been much help.
“This is a passionate plea for the neighborhood to say something and step up,” Craig said, standing a few feet from a small child’s chair and a table. “These are urban terrorists … We are fortunate we don’t have any young children recovering from a gunshot wound.”
Residents have been reluctant to cooperate with police, the chief acknowledged, with witnesses apparently concerned that they may put themselves at risk.
“I understand the fear … but are we going to let these urban terrorists take over our city?” Craig asked. “This must end. We are fighting hard … but we cannot do it alone.”
He said officers were fanning out around the west side neighborhood Sunday.
“Speak up. Say something. Your silence is not acceptable,” Craig said. “Somebody is going to talk.”
Four women and seven men were injured, the oldest of them 47. All were either in stable condition at hospitals or back home on Sunday, Craig said.
According to the chief, the 19-year-old had been shot and wounded recently and Saturday’s exchange of gunfire was believed to be in retaliation.
The double basketball court is run by the adjoining Dexter-Elmhurst Community Center, said Helen Moore, chairwoman of the private group that manages the center.
“It’s a good community,” Moore said. “I know there are people in the community that know what happened and are afraid to speak up.”
“I’m not afraid of anything but God,” she added.
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