Drive-by killing hits close to UDM campus

BY Jack Walsworth



A killing close to the McNichols campus has left some students unsettled.

The fatal shooting took place across Livernois Avenue, not far from the university’s entrance, at about 11:15 p.m. Jan. 29.

According to UDM Public Safety, the unknown perpetrator opened fire on the victim’s vehicle from the rear seat of a red Chrysler 300, striking and killing the victim.

The UDM safety notice said the incident occurred in front of the Pied Piper Market, a store that has been popular with the UDM community, but, according to a Pied Piper employee, this was not the case.

For security reasons, the employee would not give his last name. The Varsity News is referring to him in this story as Ted Jones.

“When I closed up the store, I saw the police were still out there,” he said. “They asked to view our security tapes and I said, ‘That’s fine.’ They took the video on a flash drive. That’s the only reason why it (the store) was mentioned in the report.”

According to Jones, the shooting took place farther north on Livernois near the abandoned Burger King restaurant.

He said he was unaware a shooting had occurred until he saw police.

“I was working at the store all day and didn’t hear the shots,” said Jones.

He said that he had heard the killing was over a $200 bet.

The Varsity News was unable to confirm that information.

Next to the Pied Piper Market is Bosco Fish and Seafood, which was closed at the time of the shooting.

“We were okay,” said James Damage, an employee. “We were closed when it happened so, thankfully, there weren’t any customers around.”

Damage said it wasn’t the first time a fatal shooting had taken place so close to the store.

About 15 years ago, a friend of his was shot and killed in front of the store, he said.

That time, the store was open and customers were around, making the situation worse.

“It’s just life,” he said matter-of-factly.

Damage said that the store takes precautions for the safety of employees and customers.

“We look out for our customers and UDM,” said Damage. “It’s a community.”

Fatalities are not uncommon in the area, something that Jones acknowledged.

In December, a woman was shot and killed through the front door of her home on Parkside, near Puritan, less than a half-mile from campus.

In August, two teens were dumped from a vehicle and shot on Stoepel, a block off Livernois, north of the Lodge Freeway.

No killings, however, have occurred on the gated campus of the university.

Attempts to obtain the police report and talk with Detroit Police related to the recent killing were unsuccessful.

“Given the location near UDM, said Jones, “it could’ve happened anywhere.”

Students received the email warning the day after and reactions varied.

Second-year nursing major Laura Taylor said that she heard about the shooting through word of mouth.

“One of the things that you have to understand when coming here is that this happens, but the security on campus is good,” said Taylor.

Taylor added that though she did not hear the shots fired, she knows that a lot of freshmen heard them from their dorms.

Freshman nursing student Megan Manczyk said that the shooting caught her off guard because of the fact that it is along her daily commute to campus.

“I thought that it was kind of scary because it happened outside campus and I drive by there everyday,” she said. “When you are on campus, you are safe but you still have to be aware of your surroundings.”

Taylor agrees with Manczyk and so does Michael Buckenmeyer, a five-year MBA student.

 “From what I have heard, the thing that made people nervous was that it was so close,” said Buckenmeyer. “Violent crimes have happened around here before, so it isn’t surprising.”

Buckenmeyer said that he hopes this event will not cause people to make generalizations about the community.

Maggie Jackson and Vito Chirco contributed to this story.