Advance Notice: Briefs

Detroit City Council mulls gun ban in popular downtown spots after shootings

By: - April 20, 2023 9:29 am

Aristide Economopoulos/for NJ Monitor

Detroit City Council will weigh a proposal to ban guns in popular parts of downtown after a spate of six shootings over the weekend.

Councilwoman Mary Waters announced Tuesday that she’s introducing a measure that would create gun-free zones in Greektown, the riverfront, Hart Plaza and Spirit Plaza.

“There must be severe consequences for unacceptable behavior that injures or kills human beings in Detroit,” Waters said in a statement. “I will be asking the Law Department to come before Council to advise us on the legalities involved in establishing these Gun Free Zones.”

There were five shootings in Greektown and a sixth one on the Riverwalk over the weekend, prompting police to increase patrols in the area and enforce a curfew for minors. Two people were killed, and 10 others were injured.

The city tends to see an increase in gun violence as the weather gets warmer, but six shootings downtown in one weekend is rare, even by Detroit’s standards.

Police blamed at least some of the shootings on juveniles.

On Saturday, police stepped up enforcement of a curfew for unsupervised minors, which runs from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. every day but Saturday, when the curfew is 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Waters said the proposed gun ban is not the only solution.

“Just as important is the role and responsibility of parents in ensuring that their children are conducting themselves appropriately,” Waters said. “Parents may have to endure consequences of curfew violations and worse should children access guns that should be locked up and stored so that children cannot gain access to guns.”

On Tuesday, a Detroit couple was charged in connection with one of the fatal shootings in Greektown. Travis Deshawn Irving, 33, was charged with first-degree murder for the death of Daryll Straughter, 38, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said.

Nicole Kay Christian, 34, was charged with one count of accessory after the fact.

Waters emphasized that the city must also address the root causes of violence.

“We must also deal with unacceptable poverty, systemic racism, illiteracy, and disintegration of Black families resulting in the streets raising our children with street values that don’t give a damn about human life, respect or love for self and one another,” Waters said. “We can and must do better by restoring real family structure and love to Detroit as the foundation to ending street violence.”

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Steve Neavling
Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling is an award-winning investigative journalist with the Detroit Metro Times. He operated Motor City Muckraker, an online news site devoted to exposing abuses of power and holding public officials accountable. Neavling also hosted Muckraker Report on 910AM from September 2017 to July 2018. Before launching Motor City Muckraker, Neavling was a five-year veteran of the Detroit Free Press, covering Detroit’s city hall.