'Labor Day Massacre' gunman sentenced to life in prison

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) – A man described as an indiscriminate killer was sentenced today to mandatory life in prison for fatally shooting two men outside a Grand Rapids party store and wounding three others.

A Kent County jury last month convicted Michael Norris, 25, of felony murder for the shooting spree over the 2012 Labor Day weekend. Three men were shot in the head, but survived.

Prior to sentencing, Norris professed his love of God and proclaimed his innocence.

"The Lord is my light and my salvation,'' he told a packed courtroom. "You got the wrong guy. I won't give up. Every day I'll fight. Every day.''

Kent County Prosecutor William Forsyth rolled his eyes as Norris spoke.

"There are three victims that are very fortunate they're not dead,'' Forsyth said prior to today's sentencing. "It wasn't for a lack of effort by Norris. I mean he shot five people, killed two of them and shot the other three in the head. How they all survived that is a mystery to me. ''

Kent County Circuit Court Judge Paul Sullivan, who presided over the two-week trial, called the Sept. 3, 2012 crime spree "gruesome.''

Grand Rapids police referred to the shootings as the "Labor Day Massacre.'' It began when Norris shot two men during a robbery attempt on Burton Street SW west of South Division Avenue. Felix Romeo Reyes-Santos, 45, and Alvaro Carrillo-Menendez, 22, died at the scene. A third man, Baldomero Perez-Perez, 36, was shot in the mouth but survived.

The three had just left Rau's Party Store with cases of Bud-Lite beer when Norris approached and opened fire with a .22-caliber handgun.

An hour after the murders, Norris approached two men on Griggs Street near Buchanan Avenue SW, about five blocks away, and said he was being chased by police. Norris asked them to help him hide. When the men refused, Norris opened fire. Both men survived.

During the investigation, police used investigative subpoenas to elicit testimony from several reluctant witnesses. Norris himself was questioned under an investigative subpoena.

When it was determined he lied, Norris was charged with perjury. He remained jailed on perjury and other charges while the homicides were investigated. Norris spent more than six months in jail before murder charges were filed last July.


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