Remembering Lorenzo Gaines, Detroit police officer sentenced for extortion, a brawl outside Shake Shack

Many are still reeling from the deadly shooting that injured five and killed one outside a Detroit banquet hall early Tuesday morning, both because of the brashness of the crime and the life it claimed.

It was at the Chalmers Community Hall on the city's east side where Lorenzo Gaines was killed. He was 30 years old. 

"He would ballroom in his wheelchair, he danced, his wheelchair was his legs," said Terrance Hughes. "'Play that song again DJ Chubb,' that was how he talked."

Gaines had been paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair after a previous shooting. A father to two young boys, "he was always smiling, spirit up, great energy," said his mentor and former teammate Myreo Dixon. 

"It’s horrible, man. it’s horrible, the situation man, he was a good dude," he added.

While six were shot, the number of victims could have been much higher. About 100 people were outside the hall and another 80 were inside when two suspects began firing inside. Witnesses described the scene as chaotic. 

Hughes, who had been DJing that night said a patron's heroic decision to shut the door of the banquet hall likely saved more lives since it absorbed several more rounds that had been fired.

So far, police have made one arrest in the case and are actively searching for another suspect.

The Chalmers Community Hall has since been shut down after it was determined the venue had been operating without a valid license for roughly eight years. In that time, at least one other shooting took place.

Shooting victim Lorenzo Gaines.

Shooting victim Lorenzo Gaines.

Back in 2015, six more people were shot and one had died. The previous incident and Tuesday's deadly shooting is leaving some wondering why no action was taken against the business at the time.

"Something should’ve happened, but again chief (James) White has made this a priority and we are going to work with DPD to increase inspections and enforcement on businesses that are deemed problematic by DPD," said David Bell, building safety department.

White, who gave a press conference after the shooting said if the business reopens, it will need to provide security and notify Detroit police when it welcomes large crowds.

Deadly shooting outside Detroit strip club

Detroit police are investigating a fatal shooting at a gentleman's club on the city's western edge. An active scene was reported in front of the Dolla Bill Gentlemen's Club on Plymouth after an apparent shooting early Wednesday.

According to police, a male was gunned down in the parking lot of the business. The shooting happened at 1:30 a.m. at 17040 Plymouth. 

Police said the victim had been in the parking lot when someone drove by and started shooting. He was struck in the chest and arm. He is in his late 20s, according to preliminary information from DPD.

Two suspects are involved and were driving a possibly dark-colored SUV. Shell casings from the shooting were found at Longacre and Rutland, both adjacent streets. 

Status update on I-75 in Troy

It's been two days since a tanker fire awed audiences and created a massive headache for drivers and road officials when it tipped over and burst into flames on I-75. The wreck shut down the highway and will likely take weeks to fully fix.

The Michigan Department of Transportation said the right lane of southbound I-75 has opened and a single lane heading northbound will reopen Wednesday

In a release, MDOT says the reopening of the right lane will allow traffic to move on the freeway while crews rebuild the damaged center and left lanes, along with the barrier wall that separates both directions of traffic. It's expected to reopen Wednesday afternoon. 

However, in order to minimize delays, the entrance ramps to southbound I-75 will remain closed at Crooks and Big Beaver roads until repair work is completed. The center and left lanes that were damaged in the crash will be repaired first before improvements to the right lanes begin. 

Detroit police officer sentenced to 80 months for extortion

Former Detroit police officer Deonne Dotson, 49, was sentenced to 80 months in federal prison after a trial jury convicted him of accepting bribes from owners and operators of automobile collision shops, in exchange for referring stolen and abandoned vehicles recovered by the city to them.

Dotson would create false reports for money from the owners and operators of the same collision shops. The owners would be unaware that the officer was getting paid to refer the vehicles to the shops before they were fixed up. 

Dotson is the sixth DPD member to serve time after five others pleaded guilty. 

"The overwhelming majority of Detroit Police Officers are honest, hard-working, and superb public servants," said Acting United States Attorney Saima Mohsin. "Dotson’s conviction and 80 months’ sentence shows that no one is above the law, and when police officers commit crimes and violate their oath to protect and serve the public, they will be held accountable."

Brawl caught on camera outside Shake Shack

Jason Taylor was on his way to Shake Shack with his cousin when he saw a confrontation between up to a dozen women swinging, punching, and brawling outside the business. So naturally, he took out his phone to start filming.

The brawl allegedly started inside the Shake Shack when the women, many wearing t-shirts with the iconic green hamburger logo began fighting. The brawling then spilled into the street.

"A girl flew over the chain with a juice bottle and was hitting the girl in the head with it," Taylor said, adding that the fight fizzled out after a few minutes."I didn't try to break up anything because it's Detroit, anything can happen."

Shake Shack said in a statement to FOX 2 they are "disturbed by what happened and are launching an investigation" and that could mean disciplinary action, adding "safety for customers and staff is number 1."

What else we're watching

  1. Kraft Macaroni & Cheese flavored ice cream is a thing. Really. A collaboration between the iconic Mac N Cheese brand and Van Leeuwen Ice Cream - you can try it for yourself. Here's how.
  2. A Michigan GOP official on the Board of State Canvassers blasted former President, applauding the state senator who stood up "against the malignancy that is Donald Trump." It's a notable break for a figure of a party that has been widely loyal to Trump.
  3. Six cities from Michigan made the list of best places to live and retire in the U.S., including Detroit. Here were the other five.
  4. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is asking the White House for a disaster declaration to secure federal aid to deal with damages from flooding in June. If money is granted, it would be used for temporary housing and home repairs.
  5. Some Flint residents are urging a judge to reject a $641 million settlement due to lawyers in the case hoping to carve out $200 million in fees. 

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Daily Forecast

A dry day has finally arrived, which means everyone holding off on mowing their grass should probably take the chance to do so. More rain is on the way Thursday as another system of severe weather is brewing in the west. 

Senate Democrats reach $3.5 trillion budget agreement

Senate Democrats announced Tuesday that they have reached a budget agreement among themselves that envisions spending an enormous $3.5 trillion over the coming decade.

The plan includes spending for climate change, health care and family-service programs sought by President Joe Biden.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., announced the accord flanked by all 11 Democrats on the chamber’s budget committee after a two-hour evening meeting that capped weeks of bargaining among party leaders, progressives and moderates.

If congressional Democrats rally behind the proposal and turn it into a budget resolution they can push through Congress in coming weeks, it would help them enact a subsequent, sweeping bill that would actually fund their priorities.