Man shot after online deal gone wrong; suspect at large

Grand Rapids searching for a shooting suspect near the intersection of Adams Street and Underwood Avenue on the city's southeast side on May 20, 2017.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Rapids police are still searching for a suspect in a shooting after surrounding a house on the city’s southeast Saturday night.

Police surrounded a house near the intersection of Adams Street and Underwood Avenue. Grand Rapids police told 24 Hour News 8 they were searching for the suspect in connection to the shooting that happened around 11 a.m. in the 2000 block of Francis Avenue SE.

Grand Rapids police say a person was taken from the home to the department to be interviewed, however the suspect is still at large.

Earlier Saturday, officers arrived to the scene find a man was found shot in the leg, who was taken to Mercy Health Saint Mary’s Campus with non-life-threatening injuries.

Grand Rapids police investigating a shooting in the 200 block of Francis Avenue SE on Saturday, May 20, 2017.

Grand Rapids Police Sgt. Terry Dixon told 24 Hour News 8 the suspect is described as a black man in his 30’s, around 6-foot with a neck tattoo. Authorities believe he drove away in a silver sedan.

Police say the shooting appears to have stemmed from an online exchange that ended in robbery. The pair agreed to meetup under the guise of selling a computer through the app OfferUp. Instead, a gun was produced and then fired in the course of a robbery.

Earlier, police said they were looking into reports that the shooting stemmed from a Craigslist exchange but after further investigation determined the meeting was arranged through OfferUp.

Anyone with additional information in this case is asked to call the Grand Rapids Police Department at 616.456.1300 or Silent Observer at 616.774.2345.

Police report that these kind of incidents occur with online sales because the sellers often know that the person they meet will have cash.

In January, two men were sentenced to prison for a robbery in Battle Creek for shooting people they met during a car sale arranged on Craigslist.

Authorities say be smart by insisting on meeting in an open, public place — preferable under video surveillance; letting others know where you will be and never inviting anyone to your house. One of the best tips for online transactions from police is to arrange the meetup in the parking lot of your local police department.

The FBI offers the following tips to stay safe:

  • Insist on a public meeting place like a cafe, bank, or shopping center.
  • Do not meet in a secluded place or invite strangers into your home.
  • Be especially careful buying/selling high-value items.
  • Tell a friend or family member where you’re going.
  • Take your cell phone along if you have one.
  • Consider having a friend accompany you.
  • Trust your instincts.

**Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the suspect was taken into custody. It has also been corrected to show the shooting happened in the 2000 block of Francis. We regret the errors, which have been corrected.