Assault victim's father: 'They beat him, this is personal'

Grand Rapids Police are investigating what could end up being their fifth homicide case from the month of March.

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - Julius Vinson was studying at Grand Rapids Community College and was applying to transfer to Howard University.

His family said he loved fixing up houses and wanted to become a realtor. But now, the 25 year old never get that chance -- his father wants to know who was responsible for his son's death.

"I want to know who did it, why, everything. I want to know why, because it was senseless to me and because he didn't deserve it," Julius Vinson Jr. said.

While the cause of death isn't officially known, Vinson's father believes the assault against his son was personal.

"They beat him, so they tried to do it -- it's another thing when you do a drive-by, but this was up and close beating, they beat him, this is personal or I don't know how they do it," Vinson said. "It's like he got jumped, and they tried to cause bodily harm to him because the of the injuries and a lot of the blows was to his head."

Police were called Friday, March 31, to Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital to investigate an assault. They believe it happened on Vineland Avenue south of 28th Street SE early Friday morning.

"He was having a good time that night when I talked to him; I talked to him like 1 o'clock that night and he was having a really good time," Vinson said. "The last thing he said to me was, 'Dad, I'm going home,' and I don't know why I asked him to go home, and he said he was and he didn't I guess."

Vinson's mother said healing is the most important right now.

"I'm not angry, I refuse to be angry, I refuse to give any bad energy for this," Tonya Wilkins said. "I choose for me, to remember my son remember what he meant to me, I choose to love, I choose to forgive and I choose to walk in life from this day on."

Vinson's sister, Tamika Griver adds:

"It won't ever bring him back," she said. "Do I want to know what happened? Kind of and kind of not. I lost my brother, I don't know that I want to know what his last moments were like, or the kind of people that would just do this to somebody, they really don't know what he meant to us."

The Grand Rapids Police Department is asking anyone who may have witnessed an altercation or have an idea of what happened to contact them at 616-456-4151 or Silent Observer at 616-774-2345.

Silent Observer can be reached confidentially at silentobserver.org as well. 

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