“I’m begging you, step up!”: BH public safety director asking community for help after deadly shooting

Published: May. 31, 2022 at 9:22 PM EDT
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BENTON HARBOR, Mich. (WNDU) - The top police officer in Benton Harbor is calling on community members and eyewitnesses to come forward after seven people were shot early Monday morning.

19-year-old Marlon Bowman was killed. The six survivors are expected to recover, according to Public Safety Director Daniel McGinnis.

“I’m telling you, the good people of Benton Harbor agree with me, so step up and say something. I’m mad as hell. You can print that. I’m mad as hell,” stated McGinnis.

The Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety said officers responded to the shooting around 2:15 a.m. on Memorial Day near Ajay’s Lounge and A&D Liquor Store in the 900 block of Pipestone Road.

Of the roughly 200 people surrounding the crime scene, McGinnis said no one would tell his officers anything.

“As a parent, as a man who came from a single-parent household, you know, I’ve never lost a child. I don’t even want to think about it,” McGinnis said. “It breaks my heart. It breaks my heart that these parents are losing children, and no one wants to say nothing about it. I don’t understand how it came to this point. I do not understand it.”

McGinnis added nearby businesses with surveillance cameras weren’t being forthcoming about immediately sharing video with police, which has become a pattern when other shootings happen in the city.

“Look at the time lost,” McGinnis said. “This happened Monday morning. We can’t get video until now? That’s ridiculous.”

“Scared for my life”

A Benton Harbor resident, who asked to remain anonymous, said he was talking with a friend in the parking lot of the A&D Liquor Store a little after 2 a.m. on Memorial Day. He began to cross Pipestone Road toward Ajay’s Lounge when gunfire rang out.

“Everyone running, hollering, screaming,” he said. “I was scared for my life.”

The man, a born-and-bred Benton Harbor resident, said he wouldn’t let himself look back to see what was happening behind him. Instead, all he cared about was getting to his truck unscathed.

“Let’s put these guns down. Let’s stop this violence. Let’s talk this stuff. We too small of a city and almost all of us is related,” he said.

Police collecting leads, evidence

McGinnis said his detectives have gathered a few leads and approximately 70 shell casings from a scene that spanned at least half of a block. Police said the body of Marlon Bowman was found in the liquor store parking lot.

McGinnis said it’s “unconscionable” more eyewitnesses are not offering information.

“How am I going to tell that mother, ‘Hey, we’re going to solve your son’s murder,’ when no one wants to say anything?” raised McGinnis.

He assured someone will be charged in connection with the case, minimally based on whatever illegal activity could be gleaned from the surveillance footage.

Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to call Det. Sgt Tyler Roots at (269) 384-9715.

Benton Harbor Police is offering a $2,000 reward for information that leads to the identification and arrest of the suspect or suspects involved in this incident.

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