Over one month after six people were killed and two others injured in a series of random shootings taken place in Kalamazoo County, Meridian Township residents and officials still face the question of how to prepare for potential violent events on the homefront. Meridian Township Fire Chief Fred Cowper is confident of Meridian Township’s advanced planning for violent emergency situations. “You aren’t going to find many townships with the equipment or the training that we have,” Cowper said. “We are well ahead of the curve.”
Cowper explains the Meridian Township Police Department and the Meridian Township Fire Department were awarded over $1,000,000 by the state of Michigan through a grant. Of that, $240,000 of was given to the departments to train for such emergencies, according to Cowper.
On Sunday, March 22, members of the Grand Ledge community came together to celebrate the life of Deven Guilford, Grand Ledge High School Junior who was shot to death by an Eaton County police officer earlier that month. An investigation is ongoing. The event was organized by his best friend Faith Rutherford to help show the Guilford family what they mean to the Grand Ledge community. With a vigil on what would be his 18th birthday, the residents of Grand Ledge paid their respects.
The fatal shooting of a man on November 10, 2011 outside of The Loft in downtown Lansing raises questions about an apparent link between violence and the local bar scene, raising questions about whether Old Town has reason to worry about similar incidents.
The police have named the man in question for shooting and killing 35-year-old Ygnacio “Notch” Bermudez Jr. According to the Lansing State Journal, a felony warrant has been issued for Richard Anthony Strong. This incident of violence is a concern from the community as it raises concerns about public safety and security around nightlife. Old Town has a few bars and clubs of its own, including the most prominent, Spiral Dance Bar. Known for its gay friendly environment, the club holds lots of events, drawing in a diverse crowd.