Father finds son’s dead body in alley

Robert Dawson (courtesy photo) was found dead in a Muskegon Heights alley. (May 28, 2014)


MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, Mich. (WOOD) — A father came upon his son’s body in a Muskegon Heights alley Wednesday morning.

Around 6:50 a.m., officers were called to the area of Wood Street and Delano Street, according to a release from the Muskegon Heights Police Department. They found Robert Lee Dawson, Jr. dead at the scene. He appears to have died from a gunshot wound, police said.

It was the victim’s father who discovered his 26-year-old son lying dead in the alley just a few doors from home, family members told 24 Hour News 8.

“He found him this morning on his way to work. He just thought somebody was lying in the alley asleep or passed out or something,” the victim’s uncle Floyd Dawson said. “When he walked up closer, he realized it was his son. And it took him like 10 minutes to call the police because he was crying so bad he couldn’t dial the number.”

“[Dawson Jr.] was a fun cousin. We used to play on the trampoline together. He used to go fishing with our dad,” Shawntila Gathers told 24 Hour News 8 when she came to see the alley where her cousin’s body was found.

Bullet holes could be seen Wednesday in the wall of a house next to the alley. People in the neighborhood said they heard gunfire around 10 p.m. Tuesday, but it’s not yet known whether that had anything to do with Dawson Jr.’s death.

Neighbor Tom Hutcherson said he never knew Dawson to have trouble with anyone. Other neighbors said they don’t know who killed Dawson Jr. or why.

“I hope justice catch up with them, ’cause it don’t make no sense for all these young people being killed for no reason,” Floyd Dawson said.

Several family members and neighbors in the area said the same Wednesday.

“They settle everything with guns,” Hutcherson said.

“We don’t need no more drama in Muskegon, no more drama. We lost too many young lives already as it is. We don’t need no more young people to keep getting killed over nothing,” Gathers said. “The violence is unnecessary. We can talk about it or just leave it alone, just walk away.”

Police were quiet about the case Wednesday.

“These people are here just killing people randomly, there’s too many killings in Muskegon,” Floyd Dawson said. “People ain’t got God. No respect for nobody. No respect for life, period.”

He asked any witnesses to come forward. Anyone with information  or anyone who saw or heard anything suspicious in the area around 11 p.m. Tuesday should contact the Muskegon Heights Police Department at 231.733.8900 or Silent Observer at 231.72.CRIME.

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