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Downtown shooting prompts GRPD to increase police presence during ArtPrize

Grand Rapids Blue Bridge
Andrea Flores Pazarin / WGVU News
Grand Rapids Blue Bridge

Four people shot near Blue Bridge Sunday, Chief of Police calls it “unacceptable.”

After four people were shot near the Blue Bridge over the weekend, the Grand Rapids Police Department says it will increase patrols during ArtPrize.

According to the GRPD, police were made aware of a large group of young adults throwing an illegal party on the Blue Bridge early Sunday morning. When officers arrived on the scene around 3am, gunshots rang out with bullets hitting four people.

“Some of the bullets, just an inch or two in either direction, and we could have had multiple people killed, so terrifying, and unacceptable.”

Eric Winstrom is Grand Rapids’ Chief of Police. He says the pandemic is partly to blame for the recent surge in disorderly conduct downtown.

“I think what we are seeing in downtown areas across the country is that they have sort of been abandoned for lack of a better word, of employees, diners, of just regular foot traffic, I think it became kind of a playground for criminals, and they thought it was more and more allowable to have these impromptu parties, to do disorderly behavior, because there were less eyes, less people complaining, so I think now that we are in a post-COVID world, it is time to get back to normal.”

The chief says, in order to have a “normal” ArtPrize, that means increasing police presence during the two week festival, and deploying more cops on foot patrol.

Art Prize begins Thursday.