Wednesday News Hit: FOX 2 hosts governor town hall, freeway shootings catch eye of police, lyft driver missing

The Michigan governor echoed the sentiments that many residents feared would follow the recent rise in new COVID-19 cases: dialing back the state's pandemic reopening. During an interview with CNN on Tuesday, Gretchen Whitmer said despite a "herculean effort" to push the curve down, the virus is still present. Even more, Michigan's seven-day moving average for daily cases sits at just under 500. 

That's far from the peak of 1,500 reported in April. But, it's also evidence that an increase in potential exposure by reopening businesses and allowing people to interact in closer spaces will push the daily reporting totals back up. At it's lowest in mid-June, Michigan's lowest average cases were under 200.

"I’ve got to tell you, I want to reengage this economy more than anyone, but I’m not going to do it if it is too risky to do so, and that’s why we’re seeing focus on the epidemiology. I’m not going to be bullied into moving before it’s safe, and if we have to move back, we’re gonna," Whitmer said.

That's probably not news that critics of Whitmer are going to enjoy hearing. Several organized demonstrations, a few death threats, businesses defying enforced closures, and a consistent stream of lawsuits have helped paint a very combative tone across the state's electorate. 

Whitmer admitted her staggered approach to reopening certain businesses in stages angered a lot of people, but in her eyes, she saved lives.

"I took a lot of heat, (but) when we brought that curve down, we saved thousands of lives. I’m prepared to take heat if that’s what it’s going to take to keep people safe," she said.

After capital protests failed to quell the closures, critics of Whitmer's use of emergency powers are now taking a different approach to curbing her authority. The group, Unlock Michigan, just had language for its petition that would repeal the emergency powers law approved by the state. Now, they must collect 340,047 valid signatures in the next 180 days that would initiate legislation state lawmakers could approve and the governor could not veto.

In the meantime, if residents have questions they'd like to ask the governor, they now have an opportunity to voice them. FOX 2 is hosting a virtual town hall with the governor and other state leaders today at 7 p.m.

Anchor Roop Raj will lead a discussion with Whitmer, Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist, and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Joneigh Khaldun on subjects pertaining to the economy and the pandemic.

FOX 2 will stream it live and embed it right here for you to watch and interact. Check back here Wednesday at 7 p.m. to watch live and have your questions ready.

State police investigating rash of freeway shootings in Detroit area

Michigan State Police are looking into at least 12 incidents of shootings that happened on freeways in Wayne and Oakland County over the last three weeks.

Last month, a woman was shot and killed on I-75 near Eight Mile. Another shooting killed a Romulus man on I-96 near Schaefer. At least eight of the incidences began as arguments on the road.

While the incidents are all unrelated, state police suspect national sentiment that officers aren't enforcing rules as strongly could be playing a role in the creeping up violence.

"It can't be a coincidence that it's going along with some of the anti-police sentiment that is out there," Michigan State Police 1st Lt. Mike Shaw said. "I think probably some people think we aren't out there, or the police aren't paying attention so they're going to take things into their own hands."

Many of the shootings have involved illegal guns, but some suspects did have a concealed pistol license. 

Shaw says state police have made two arrests and have suspects in every shooting.

Cryptic texts from Lyft driver's phone missing for three weeks has family worried

Ingram Davis left his home on June 11 to go pick up a rider and his family hasn't seen him since. But they have received text messages from his phone. 

After missing for three weeks, Davis' cousin texted him to see if he was okay. The responses were "Dodge Journey" and "1 Samuel 18:2," a bible scripture.

Then his sister texted him asking him to tell him he was okay and what his middle name was. The response was "Dodge Journey" and "Ecclesiastes 3:7." another bible scripture.

  • 1 Samuel 18:2 says, "David says Saul took him from his home and would not allow him to return" 
  • Ecclesiastes 3:7 says "A time to rip apart, a time to tear apart, a time to be quiet and a time to be silent"

"I am really scared, I want him to be okay, this is not like him," said his sister, Brittany Aisuebeogun.

The family has struggled to gain much traction with Lyft when asking who was Davis' last customer. They've also asked for help from the Detroit Police Department, which said they plan to look into the disappearance. 

"Please give us a call if you see anything, call us we are really worried not like him not like him to disappear like this," said his mother and sister.

Daily Forecast

Expect more heat and more isolated and widely scattered storms throughout the day as Michigan's heatwave continues.

Trump says he will pressure states to reopen schools in fall

President Donald Trump on Tuesday launched an all-out effort to reopen schools this fall, arguing that some are keeping schools closed not because of the coronavirus pandemic, but for political reasons against the will of families.

“We want to reopen the schools. Everybody wants it. The moms want it, the dads want it, the kids want it. It's time to do it,” Trump said at a White House event. "We're very much going to put pressure on governors and everybody else to open the schools.”

Trump did not immediately explain how he would pressure governors, but he repeated an earlier claim that Democrats want to keep schools closed for political reasons and not health reasons. He made the same claim Monday on Twitter, saying, “They think it will help them in November. Wrong, the people get it!”