It would have been national news in any other city: 911 callers reported shots fired at Mumford High School on Detroit’s west side.
Students were leaving school when the gunshots reportedly rang out at 3:35 p.m. Tuesday. Students were rushed inside the school and doors were locked at 17525 Wyoming near Santa Clara.
Minutes later, police were searching for the suspects – three young people.
But as chaos ensued, the media was nowhere. Nor is Mayor Duggan or Detroit Police Chief James Craig. In fact, the Detroit Police Department could not provide information to Motor City Muckraker hours after the shots were reported. We’re still awaiting information about an incident that would normally gain national attention and demand quick answers from parents.
But this is Detroit, where half of the children live in poverty and their only hope is a broken, underfunded school system.
What happened is unclear. School officials’ account of what happened is vastly different than what police were told.
The shooting was first reported by a citizen journalist on Twitter – Detroit Scanner.
While police were searching for three young people believed to have fired shots at or near the school, the city’s public school system told parents in a letter “an adult across the street from school with a weapon fired a shot in the air.”
Callers told 911 they heard numerous shots. Witnesses told police there were three young people who opened fire, and police canvassed the area in search of the suspects.
Detroit police were unable to say if there were any injuries or arrests – news any parent would demand.
Earlier in the day, the local media were following Detroit Police Chief James Craig as he handed out money to strangers for the holidays. Craig has declined numerous requests for an interview with Motor City Muckraker.
This is not the first shooting at or near Mumford High School. On the first day of school in 2010, two students were shot just feet away from the school as students left for the day.
In September 2016, a 15-year-old student was shot near the school after leaving a football game.
Here is the letter sent to parents of students at Mumford High School about Tuesday’s shooting:
This afternoon, after dismissal, we received a report of an adult across the street from the school with a weapon that fired a shot in the air. We immediately moved all students inside the building and locked all doors. DPSCD Police immediately came to the campus, made certain the campus was secured and provided an all clear to release students. Please know that we moved swiftly to ensure that all students were safe and the surrounding areas were safe before releasing students. All evening activities will continue as normal and we will have security on campus for these events.
Motor City Muckraker is chronicling every police and fire run to document how seriously underreported crime is in Detroit and how long it takes for police to respond to even the most violent crimes.
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Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.