Detroit block party mass shooting riles activists: 'We have a responsibility to defend our people'

A series of violent weekends threatens to undo the work Detroit has done to have its lowest crime rate in 60 years.

Two people are dead, 19 were wounded after gunfire ripped through a block party in Detroit early Sunday morning. It is the latest incident where episodes of violence are popping up where people should feel safe.

It can be a park. It can be a residential street. The bottom line is that the mayor doesn’t want neighbors to feel like hostages in their own home, because it’s unsafe to be outside.

"I’m feeling saddened, you know it’s gut-wrenching to see our young people turning on each other (and) not turning to each other," said Detroit Police Commissioner Darryl Woods.

Woods was one of an army of city leaders and community activists who joined Mayor Mike Duggan, DPD Police Chief James White, and Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy Monday.

Duggan said it was the sixth block party shooting in recent weeks.  The events are described as "illegal pop-up" parties, which attract crowds from more than 50 miles away.

Now, it’s the city’s mission to squash these parties before more chaos ensues.

"Educating the community about these events and the danger of them," Woods said. "When they identify them, *(give them) a number that they could call immediately to get us some early reporting on these issues, so that some of the CVI groups can come in and do some intervention with these groups."

Related: 2 killed, 19 hurt in Detroit block party shooting

FOX 2: "After we’re done talking, you get back to the office with the next move?"

"My team and I are going to sit down with other members of the Gun Violence Task Force, and talk about how we can put information out into the community whether that’s via a postcard, whether that’s online, whether that’s billboards," said City Councilman Fred Durhal.

The city’s Illegal Party Prevention Plan includes:

  • Neighborhood Response Teams
  • A car dedicated to tracking down and breaking up the parties
  • Enforcing more excessive noise and disorderly conduct violations
  • Encouraging resident approval, which requires signatures from 75 percent of neighbors for a legal block party
  • Involving community violence intervention groups.

"I’m devastated. I’m outraged, and my heart is broken," said Community Activist Teferi Brent.

Brent says the responsibility can’t just fall on those who lead.  The weekend’s shooting must be a wake-up call.

"God created Black men to be protectors and not predators," he said. "This is our issue. We have a responsibility to defend our people and protect the most vulnerable our community - that being babies, elders, and women. When are we going to protect our girls?"

On Monday, Detroit City Council President Mary Sheffield announced a news conference and call to action on this past weekend’s violence.

She posted it on her Instagram and said it will be 7 p.m. Wednesday at Edmore Marbud Park.