the day after: a candle light vigil for the 7 victims of gun violence on July 7th, 2011 in Grand Rapids

Flag of City of Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids city logo - Image via Wikipedia

A man by the name of Rodrick Dantzler shocked the city of Grand Rapids on July 7th, 2011. Seven people were killed by Dantzler in the city’s northeast side.

While on the run, he shot at two men during a traffic related incident. One man was hit in the face and somehow survived without severe injury.

A woman Dantzler knew was shot in the shoulder during a chance encounter on the street. A Grand Rapids police officer responding to the 911 calls from this incident rammed his police cruiser into the vehicle Dantzler was driving. Dantzler and the officer exchanged multiple shots, leaving spent shell casings and broken glass scattered about the intersection of Fulton and Division.

A chase involving dozens of police cruisers around city streets and up the freeway (part of it against the flow of traffic) put untold scores of people in danger. Shots were reportedly fired at police at several points in the pursuit.

3 people were held as hostages when Dantzler broke in to their home trying to escape capture. Demands for alcohol, cigarettes, and gatorade in exchange for one of the hostages came across the police scanner. He consumed alcohol and cocaine while the drama unfolded. More reports of shots fired from inside the building.After several hours of this standoff, he released the hostages just before midnight, then took his own life.

prayers during the vigil held in Ah-Nab-Awen Park 7-8-11

In the aftermath of all this, some young community activists took it upon themselves to organize a semi-impromptu vigil the following day in the heart of the city, at Ah-Nab-Awen Park.

Chris Surfus of Tolerance, Equality & Awareness Movement reads aloud the names of the 7 shooting victims

A Facebook page was created to spread the word. Local media broadcast the information as well. Two local ministers, a city commissioner, and a few of the organizers spoke during the event. Over 150 people came out to show support for the seven victims left dead in the wake of the violence.

Prayers were said for the dead, for the people injured during the rampage, for the family of Dantlzer, and for the GRPD. The Grand Rapids Fire Dept. paraded several fire engines around Ah-Nab-Awen Park and over a nearby bridge with the emergency lights flashing. The crowd erupted in applause for the emergency response workers.

The corporate media swarmed the event, hungry to get their photo ops and tearful interviews (and ratings) for the evening news. Candles were lit, balloons released, songs and prayers were abundant.

As dusk settled, 7 lanterns were sent aloft to float above the city to remember the victims; Amanda Emkens, Marisa Emkens, Kimberlee Emkens, Jennifer Heeren, Rebecca Heeren, Thomas Heeren, and Kamrie Dantzler

Candle Light Vigil on 7-8-11 for the 7 victims of Rodrick Dantzler


About analogmutant

art, music, food, movies, citizen journalism, activism, and whatever else i am into at the moment...
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