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Police patrol Northside after overnight Kalamazoo shootings

Updated: Sunday, July 6 2014, 06:39 PM EDT
Police patrol Northside after overnight Kalamazoo shootings story image
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Police are searching for suspects involved in two separate shootings in Kalamazoo following Fourth of July celebrations that injured four people.

Those shootings happened minutes apart and within a mile of each other. The first happened around 1:45 a.m. Saturday morning in the area of Douglas Ave. and Mason Street.

The second shooting happened 15 minutes later, in the area of North Burdick and Clay streets. Witnesses tell us they drove right into the chaos, with people throwing bottles.

Witness Michael Kelly says, "And they came down pointing guns at me and a friend of mine who was standing in front of the vehicle. And they kept asking who we were who we were. They were going to shoot at us."

James Hughes, who lives near the first shooting, says, "It's just when you get a large group of people in one area something is bound to happen. You know egos clash, stuff might have went wrong or whatever and things happen."

Four people were injured in those shootings. Two women and a man suffered gunshot wounds to their legs. Another man suffered injuries to his leg and face. All should recover.

Police have boosted patrols to cut down on the violence. Right now, they're still searching for suspects in these recent shootings.
Newschannel 3's Julia Fello rode along with police as they targeted problems areas throughout the city.

Kalamazoo Public Safety officers were going non-stop all night. They say at times they were spread thin to prevent one shooting after another.

Officer Laurel Palk says, "It was pretty chaotic showing up on scene there was a lot of people out here."

A web of caution tape surrounded both scenes on Kalamazoo's Northside.

Palk was at both. She says, "Most of the crowd was around the corner over here, I believe it was spilling out into Douglas, as well. When I got here, there were already officers on scene. We were trying to keep everything peaceful and try to piece together what was going on."

Hours later, she and the rest of Kalamazoo Public Safety are still on the road. She says their biggest issue is keeping crowds under control. It can get bigger and bigger within minutes and many who come are unwanted.

Palk says, "It's hard with those big crowds, we always try to engage and build a relationship. I think it's more difficult when there is a large crowd, you know, you got other people chiming in when you're trying to build a relationship and it makes it more difficult."

She explains they're increasing foot patrols this summer, talking to everyone before it gets any worse. Saturday night, she responded to a fireworks complaint. She says officers are being proactive and making sure everyone knows they're not there to ruin the party, just to make sure it stays safe.

"Unfortunately, there's so much going on in the city that sometimes we are stretched thin. This is part of the reason I do this job. I want to keep people safe," Palk says.

Palk also talks about the balance of making sure everyone is still having a good time this holiday weekend, while keeping the Northside safe.
Anyone with information on the shootings is asked to call Silent Observer at (269) 343-2100.
Police patrol Northside after overnight Kalamazoo shootings
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