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Pair charged for gunfire targeting federal officer on city’s Southeast Side

The shooting happened in February near Joe Taylor Park; the officer was able to get out of the area uninjured.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Two men who served time for gun-related felonies are now facing charges stemming from a Grand Rapids shooting that targeted a federal agent.

The assault on a federal law enforcement officer occurred in February on the city’s Southeast side. The officer was not hurt.

“This just goes to show you the level of violence we’re seeing in the community,’’ Grand Rapids Police Sgt. John Wittkowski said.

A federal grand jury last week indicted Jaquari Trotter, 20, and Gregory Rogers, 21. 

They are charged with assault on a federal law enforcement officer and discharge of a firearm during, and in relation to, a crime of violence. If convicted, the pair face decades in prison.

The officer was a member of a fugitive task force and was conducting surveillance in the area of Dolbee Avenue and Sherman Street SE near Joe Taylor Park. 

“An individual took multiple shots at him,’’ Wittkowski said. “He was able to get out of the area uninjured.’’

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Trotter and Rogers are no strangers to the criminal justice system; both have arrests dating back to their teen years.

“This case occurred back in February, but was still on our radar screen,’’ Wittkowski said. “And we will not give up as far as finding those that are responsible for this violence.’’

Police continue to investigate a June shooting that also targeted a law enforcement officer. 

In that case, an unmarked police vehicle was shot at in the area of Cass Avenue and Pleasant Street SE. The vehicle was struck several times, but the officer was not injured.

The indictments of Trotter and Rogers are an example of local law enforcement working with federal officials to find and prosecute those involved in what has been a year of unprecedented violence.

“It’s an all hands on deck approach,’’ Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker said. “We’re trying to do anything we can to get resources in the neighborhoods, but we’re also trying to take a hard stand on the crimes that were committed.’’

The U.S. Attorney’s Office has been involved in numerous local investigations involving felons in possession of firearms.

U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge says federal statutes may carry tougher penalties for some offenses. And offenders convicted in federal court generally serve their time outside of Michigan.

"And my office has the best punishments for getting that person prosecuted and serving their time outside the community, where they can no longer be communicating with their fellow gang-bangers or whomever it might be,'' Birge said.

RELATED: Not since 1993 has Grand Rapids seen so many murders; most by firearm

Federal investigators, working with Grand Rapids police, built a case against 22-year-old Antwine Chamberlain-Fields, another convicted felon with arrests dating back to his teen years.

A federal grand jury indicted him in August for being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.

Officers suspected Chamberlain-Fields was involved in, as well as the target of, multiple shootings in the Grand Rapids area this past summer, including a drive-by shooting on the city’s West Side resulting in the injury of a teenage girl, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

“After Chamberlain-Fields was indicted and placed in federal pretrial detention, shootings on the West Side of Grand Rapids stopped for almost three weeks,’’ according to the news release. 

Chamberlain-Fields pleaded guilty to the indictment; he’s facing up to 10 years in prison.

Wittowski said the availability of federal resources is appreciated in a year marked by violence. 

Through Dec. 22, Grand Rapids has logged 37 homicides. It is double the number seen last year and surpasses the previous record of 34 set in 1993.

“When we have periods of high violence, we seek out assistance from our federal partners,’’ he said. “They’re ready and willing to assist.’’

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