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Mayor says Detroit doesn’t know how to stop violence

City tense after police killing of 7-year-old

By Corey Williams
Associated Press / May 21, 2010

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BIRMINGHAM, Mich. — Mayor Dave Bing of Detroit said yesterday that the city has no answer to the recent spike in violence that has left at least 12 people dead, including a patrolman, two teenage males, a grandmother, the adult son of a police officer, and a 7-year-old girl.

“It’s very demoralizing, very painful . . . don’t know how to stop it, quite frankly,’’ Bing told a group of area business and elected leaders yesterday during an annual political forum in the suburban community of Birmingham.

Tension after a Detroit police officer accidentally shot second-grader Aiyana Stanley-Jones during a raid early Sunday morning continues to hang over the city.

Police have said the officer’s gun discharged inside the house after he was jostled by, or collided with, the girl’s grandmother.

A lawyer for the family has filed two lawsuits in the case and contends that the shot was fired from outside on the porch.

Both Bing and Police Chief Warren Evans have apologized to the girl’s family, and the Michigan State Police have launched an investigation into Aiyana’s death.

Representative John Conyers, Democrat of Michigan, on Wednesday asked Attorney General Eric Holder to have the Justice Department look into the case and evaluate similar police raids, nationally.

“Too many people are pointing to the Police Department,’’ he said yesterday.

“I don’t think they are the problem. They have to be the solution.’’

Detroit had 379 homicides in 2009, and 375 the year before. The numbers are down this year, however.

There were 60 homicides through the end of March, compared with 80 over the same period last year.

But the numbers have recently spiked.

A 29-year-old man was shot to death inside a gas station early yesterday morning by a masked assailant.

A police spokeswoman said he was the son of a police officer, and investigators were trying to determine why he was killed.

Between the May 3 shooting death of Officer Brian Huff while investigating a “shots fired’’ complaint in a vacant house through Tuesday, the Wayne County medical examiner’s office had recorded at least 12 homicides, including the death of Stanley-Jones.

A 15-year-old male was shot to death on a friend’s porch.

Police have said he may not have been the intended victim. A 65-year-grandmother was shot and killed when a bullet aimed at a suspected carjacker sliced into her home.

A 17-year-old male was slain May 14 outside a convenience store, apparently after looking at a 34-year-old man the “wrong way,’’ according to prosecutors.

It was the search for the suspect in that slaying that led the Detroit police Special Response Team to the house on Lillibridge where Aiyana was killed.

Chauncey Owens was arrested in an upstairs apartment after her shooting.

He has been charged with murder and was expected to be arraigned yesterday afternoon.

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