SAGINAW, MI – In light of the “parking lot parties” that took place in Saginaw, one of which was the scene of a recent double homicide, Saginaw Police Chief Robert M. Ruth said said he supported civilian groups who took it upon themselves to patrol such gatherings. .
“I think it’s a bit like when we had Parishioners on patrolRuth said. “They just watch and make sure everyone is safe. Some are religious organizations within Saginaw that help. They are just trying to protect people and reduce the number of shootings. “
Parties are frequent in summer. They tend to feature booming music from car radios and headlights functioning as projectors when participants socialize with each other.
One such informal gathering took place in the wee hours of Sunday July 19 in the parking lot of the Sunoco gas station at 1944 E. Genesee St. on the east side of town. It ended when gunshots rang out and Ricky H. Morgan, 22, and Tony D. Martin, 19, were fatally injured. A 25-year-old woman was shot in the arm.
Kentrez Frazier, a resident of Saginaw, was present during the shooting, after stopping by the company to buy a snack for his daughter – who was not there. In the process, Frazier founded Stand Up, Speak Up, a community group to patrol these types of parties.
Ruth encouraged Frazier’s initiative, saying police officers regularly respond to parties outside of businesses.
“We are called all the time,” said Ruth. “We’ve been dealing with it for five or six years. Businesses call 911 when they start to assemble so that we can fix the problem. They go from one lot to another and simply follow each other in town. It causes a lot of problems. “
Likewise, earlier in July, city officials closed Ojibway Island to vehicular traffic after a “very large crowd” gathered in the park on the night of July 12 without wearing a masks or apply social distancing as recommended in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis.
He added that businesses should display “no stroll” signs.
“We need all the help from the Saginaw Police Department that we can get,” said Ruth. “The whole goal here is to reduce the number of shootings and homicides. If a group is watching the action it helps, knowing that there is a watchful eye out there to watch us as it is midsummer.
Another fatal shooting at a parking party took place on May 24 at the Marathon station at 1411 Court St. This incident saw Antonio J. Buford Jr., 21, killed and another, 21, injured. Brothers Edgar D. Hoskins Jr., 17, and Enaris Hoskins, 15, were later arrested and brought to justice on numerous charges related to the crime.
Years ago, an unofficial Saginaw High School pre-ball party held in the parking lot of the Florence Event Hall in Florence near Salt saw a 17-year-old Tonquinisha “NeNe” McKinley killed and three other women – aged 18, 19 and 39 – injured. Evellis T. McGee, 21, Karon D. Thomas, 19, and Isaiah D. Clark, 25, were later convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to lengthy prison terms.
“By a group watching the action, it helps,” said Ruth. “I think they are doing a great job.”
Ruth also sought to dispel notions that the July 19 double homicide occurred because Saginaw police called in sick people for that shift.
“We had a full crew that night, plus Michigan State Police were away,” Ruth said.
No arrests were made in the Morgan and Martin homicides as of Thursday, July 23.