GRPD investigating double homicide; no suspects

Grand Rapids double homicide
Grand Rapids police work at the scene where two homicide victims were found, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Rapids police are tracking down leads on a double homicide that started as a response to a traffic crash early Saturday morning.

“We do have two individuals that are deceased. How they became that way is basically a who-done-it at this point,” GRPD Sgt. John Wittkowski told 24 Hour News 8 on scene.

Officers were flagged down around 1:47 a.m. after a car ran through a fence and into a tree at the dead end of Graham Street west of Division Avenue. That’s just north of the Franklin and Division intersection.

Witnesses told investigators the car drove through the intersection “at a high rate of speed” and then crossed through the parking lot behind the Franklin Big Save liquor store before crashing.

When officers checked the vehicle, they found a 27-year-old man in the driver’s seat with at least two gunshot wounds. A second gunshot victim, identified as a 23-year-old man, was found about 50 yards away under a trailer parked in the parking lot.

“From all indications he was the passenger in the vehicle. If he fell out, he was pushed out, he tried to get out — we’re not entirely sure. It appears at some point as they’re going through the lot he gets ejected from the vehicle. We don’t know. He was wedged underneath the trailer and if it wasn’t for the officer looking underneath, he probably wouldn’t have seen him right away,” Sgt. Wittkowski said, adding, “There’s no indication that the shooting actually happened in this area. Whether it happened in the vehicle or another location it remains to be seen at this point.”

Now investigators are faced with tracking a murder suspect without an exact location.

“There were no reports of shots fired or anything in the immediate area, so we’ve checked hospitals for other victims. Nothing at this point,” Sgt. Wittkowski said.

Police say shell casings were found in the 400 block of Barth Avenue, but it is not known if the casings are connected to the double homicide.

The Grand Rapids Police Department’s Major Case team is investigating. Anyone with information is asked to call GRPD at 616.456.3400 or Silent Observer at 616.774.2345.