New state bill would extend penalties on drive-by shootings

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LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — New legislation making its way through the state House looks to toughen penalties for drive-by shootings, especially in cases where a child is hit or killed.

The four-bill package would impose a more serious punishment for anyone shooting into a home or vehicle, with additional penalties if a child is injured in a drive-by.

If passed, the bipartisan legislation would sentence a drive-by shooter to life without parole if a child is killed.

The legislation was inspired by a Flint family who had a child shot and killed in a drive-by shooting last year, according to the state representatives behind the bills.

This push in Lansing comes as Grand Rapids police investigate what appears to be yet another drive-by shooting that took place over Fourth of July weekend.

The shooting, which injured three teens, was one of six shootings that happened over the weekend.

Police say the incident happened around 12:30 a.m. on July 4 near Worden Street and Union Avenue SE.

Police say the victims all had non-life-threatening injuries.

A nearby home was also hit by the gunfire.

Sgt. Dan Adams with the Grand Rapids Police Department told News 8 they can’t say with certainty whether the shooters were firing from a vehicle.

Neighbors in the area say the shooters appeared to be coming from the road, speeding down an alley way, firing several bullets into the house.

The property manager told News 8 a mom and her young kids, who were asleep inside the home, came dangerously close to being caught in the crossfire.

“You can see right where we had three bullets, one through this window, one through that and one through that window,” Greg McKee said. “It came into the bedroom where there were three kids in the house, so it was a little scary.

McKee was at the house Wednesday, working to patch and repair the bullet holes.

Neighbors across the street, who wished to remain anonymous, say these incidents have them fearing for the safety of their own children.

“If her baby would’ve just moved a little bit, it would’ve been over for them,” a neighbor said.

While fellow parents in the neighborhood commend legislators for taking action, they don’t see stricter consequences as a solution to the problem. Especially, when the suspects involved in the latest incident remain at large.

“I feel like it’s needed, but do I think it’s going to be effective? Probably not because at the end of the day, they are not even catching the people who are doing it,” the neighbor said.

Grand Rapids police say this is an ongoing investigation. Anyone with information about any of these shootings is encouraged to call GRPD at 616.456.3400.

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