MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Muskegon Heights Police disagrees with the Muskegon Heights Public School Academy System Superintendent about whether the shooting death of high school junior 17-year-old Marquis Gresham was random.
On Friday morning, Muskegon Heights Public School Academy System Superintendent Alena Zachery-Ross said at a news conference she believes it was safe for students to return to school.
“This was a random act, it was a senseless act,” Zachery-Ross said. “There has not been any connection that has been found that it was between any students or anything that gives us any indication that our students are not safe on the way to school.”
On Friday afternoon, Muskegon Heights Police Chief Lynne Gill told 24 Hour News 8 the shooting was not random. Gill says shots came out of a car that had at least two people in it and the car was targeting a group of 3-4 people walking down the street.
It is unclear if Gresham was a part of the group walking down the street.
Gresham was shot in the chest while walking to his basketball banquet Wednesday around 5:30 p.m. on Rotterdam Avenue near Fifth Street. The shooting happened less than a mile from the high school.
Police said they are questioning two persons of interest, a 19-year-old man and a 20-year-old man, both from Muskegon. No direct connection has been made between Gresham and the two people. Police said the two have not been arrested.
It was announced Friday morning that students would return to Muskegon Heights High School Monday morning for the first time since the shooting death.
Zachery-Ross noted the shooting happened in the evening, not during school hours, and said most of their students are bused to and from school.
She also said that this year, the school has not had any incidents where they have needed to call for police assistance.
“We feel our students are safe to come to school and we encourage them to come so they can be here to be able to begin the grieving process,” Zachery-Ross said.
School leaders said a crisis team will be available for students Monday as they return to class.
Muskegon Heights High School Principal Carla Turner-Laws said Gresham will be remembered as an outstanding student.
“Marquis was definitely an all-around kid here at the high school,” Turner-Laws said. “He had touched the hearts of every staff member here, also the students. He had indeed become… he turned things around and became a student leader here. He was a key part of our basketball team.”
Visitation for Gresham is set for Thursday, May 1 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Toombs Funeral Home, which is located at 2108 Peck Street in Muskegon Heights. His funeral will be held on Friday, May 2 at 12 p.m. at Muskegon Heights High School Academy 2441 Sanford St. Muskegon Heights, MI 49444
Donations to help with funeral costs can be dropped off at Muskegon Heights High School. Organizers ask that all checks and money orders be made payable to “Benefits for Marquis Gresham.”