Benton Harbor pastors aiming to end shooting cycle

NOW: Benton Harbor pastors aiming to end shooting cycle

BENTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- A 20-year-old is dead after a shooting at Briarwood Apartments in Benton Township Wednesday night.

It’s the third deadly shooting at that apartment complex in less than two years.

Officers were called just after 11:30 p.m. and found 18-year-old James Parker-Hersey shot in his hip.

He was taken to Lakeland Hospital for surgery.

Officers then learned 20-year-old Miquan Davis was also shot in the chest at Briarwood while in the passenger seat of a car.

He was taken to Lakeland by the driver, where he was pronounced dead.

The violence is no longer a shock to community activists, but not something they’re willing to accept. 

“To say I’m accustomed to it is to accept the fact that we’re just going to let violence continue to go on, it’s going to take a community to raise the standards of what we believe and should be doing,” said Pastor Maurice McAfee with New Bethel Baptist Church.

Pastor McAfee said those committing crimes must be held responsible, but there also has to be some accountability from the places most prone to violent crime. 

“The ownership of these apartments,” he said. “Whether it’s putting up cameras, putting police outside or having the area patrolled by their private security.”

Also, having everyone in the community get to the point where they’ve had enough of all the gunfire.

“If at least we can get the violence on this day just to stop, then we can begin to build relationships with young people and figure out what’s lacking,” said Pastor Carlton Lynch with Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church. “Is it jobs, is it counseling, and just to tell us what’s going on.”

As for what can be done now, both pastors want to build relationships with the young men of greater Benton Harbor and see if their influence can help end this cycle. 

“Let me partner with the police and give me the names that you at least have heard about so we can go with our hands up saying ‘Brother, I just want to talk’ and I think until we do something, we’re going to be here again,” said Pastor Lynch.

As for the shooting investigation, police said the two suspects got into a black, four-door Sedan and sped off.

Anyone with information  is asked to call the Benton Township Detective Bureau at 269-925-1135.

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