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Can I Get a Witness town halls seeks witnesses to unsolved killings in Battle Creek

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Battle Creek city leaders are planning community town halls to help solve several shootings in the area.

There have been as many as eight shootings in the last two weeks and more than half of them connected.

Videos have surfaced on social media, but police said when it comes to witnesses no one wants to say anything.

There are also two, high-profile murders that remain unsolved: 22-year-old Joseph Bowser was gunned down in front of an apartment complex in March and 17-year-old Marcus Flanigan was shot dead in April.

Battle Creek City Commissioner Lynn Ward-Gray said pleas for justice from Bowser's family really struck a chord with her.

Ward-Gray said, “You could feel within that room, just the heartbreak, the heartache, the frustration over time. I felt it, I know a lot of the commissioners felt it, and I wanted to do my part.”

The town hall sessions, named Can I Get a Witness, are aimed at educating people about how to be a good witness and why it's so important to come forward with information.

“Listen, there's nothing more painful for a family than no justice, no process.” Battle Creek Police Chief Jim Blocker said, “But if we can take a last-ditch effort like this one, Can I Get a Witness, to get people back engaged, to rethink what did they see and the quality of it, and then get them to back it in court, I think we'll do much better than we've done.”

There are three of these town halls planned: The first is 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. July 19 at New Level Sports Ministries on Michigan Avenue. The second is 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. July 20 at Freedom Faith Worship Center on Capital Avenue. The final is 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. July 31 at Second Missionary Baptist Church on North Washington Avenue.

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