DETROIT, MICH. - A fourth victim has been reported by police, who are currently investigating a Saturday evening shooting that took place during Noel Night in front of the Detroit Institute of Arts.
While police previously reported three teen victims — two male ages 14 and 15 and one 17-year-old female — Detroit Police Sergeant Nicole Kirkwood says an additional victim, a 19-year-old male, arrived at a hospital on his own where he told staff that he had been shot doing Noel Night.
He was grazed in the hand and the leg, according to Kirkwood, who says he, along with all the other victims, is currently in stable condition.
While the circumstances surrounding the incident are still unknown, according to Kirkwood, a preliminary investigation indicates that a dispute erupted Saturday night around 7:40 p.m. near Farnsworth Street and John R Street followed by multiple gunshots
After the shooting, streets near the DIA were blocked off and a police helicopter with a spotlight circled above the area; nearby Wayne State University's campus was put on lockdown.
Describing the incident, Detroit Police Chief James Craig told WXYZ-TV, "Some pushing, some shoving, and then shots fired. We have police employed throughout the venue. They heard the shots and responded... And they were able to respond and treat the victim. One of the police officers actually transported the victim to the local hospital."
"It's ridiculous. ... Why? For what?" Craig said. "Why is there a need to use a weapon. We're going to do as much as we can to ID the shooter."
While nobody has yet to be arrested, Kirkwood described the shooter as a man who was wearing tan pants. Asked what may have been the cause of the shooting, she said she did not have additional details but police are investigating.
For those who were at Noel Night — or had loved ones in attendance — the gunfire was a reminder of some of the very real struggles the city of Detroit still faces when it comes to violence.
"I read about the shootings on Facebook and knew my mom and daughter were at the DIA," Detroiter Margarita Barry told the Free Press, explaining she had felt under the weather Saturday and so her mother took her 5-year-old to the festive gathering. "My mind jumped to the very worst thoughts when I wasn't able to contact her for over an hour. That was the most terrifying hour of my life."
Ultimately everyone was safe, with Barry's sister, Tanya Stephens, who was also with the 5-year-old, taking to social media to explain what had happened.
"It's Detroit, we've been through worse times. We still had a fun time at Mocad and Nnamdi," she wrote, adding, "Next year though I hope they have enough sense to have a curfew for the young people (there were soooo many unchaperoned kids felt like the fireworks) and more lighting. I kind of had a sense it had potential [sic] for chaos."
For Barry, who lives in Detroit's Eye Neighborhood on the north-west side, the shooting, which took place in Midtown — one of the city's tonier districts — brings renewed focus on a gun violence issue that is often brushed over when discussing Detroit's comeback, and also, in her opinion, many cities in America.
"I live in a neighborhood that is no stranger to the sounds of gunshots in the middle of the night, although it isn't a regular occurrence, it's often enough for me to never let my guard down — no matter what city I'm in," Barry wrote in a private message. "It's a reminder of the violence that continues to plague not only Detroit but America. This isn't just a Detroit thing, this is a nation-wide issue that we should never normalize."
In the past 72 hours, there have been three people killed by guns in the city of Detroit, and seven people who have been injured, according to data from the Gun Violence Archive, which has not included the most recent Noel Night victim in its tally yet.
When asked about the incident by WDIV Saturday evening, Chief Craig stressed that the Noel Night shooting should not alter perceptions about safety.
"Sometimes it's one incident like this that creates so much fear, but this should not be the incident that defines who we are," he said.
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