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Flint partnering with ‘good promoters’ in wake of Hallwood Plaza shooting

Flint's Mayor and Police Chief said they can’t step in until a law is broken. But, they’re taking proactive measures to prevent another tragedy.
Published: Jul. 28, 2020 at 5:58 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - (7/28/2020) - What can be done to prevent another tragedy like the shooting at Hallwood Plaza in Flint over the weekend?

Flint's Mayor Sheldon Neeley and Police Chief Phil Hart said while they can't step in until a law is broken, they're taking proactive measures.

The two know more pop-up parties are going to happen. So what are they doing to be prepared?

The two City leaders explained they created partnerships with what they’re calling “good promoters.” They are young people who know what’s legally allowed and are trusted by the Mayor and Police Chief to organize events in line with the rules.

“You know, I’m a little bit older now; and sometimes, translating information to a younger group, a millennial group, we have to find effective ways to communicate to them, we have to have IV directly into the heart of our situation,” the Mayor said.

Mayor Neeley explained the group of "good promoters" will serve somewhat as a liaison between City Hall and event organizers.

“Once we identify good actors and bad actors, we just tell people you shouldn’t participate in this particular activity because it may not be adhering to all laws, and it jeopardizes everybody,” he said.

ABC12 News asked if they knew this event was happening and had already made contact with organizers multiple times, why not speak out sooner to dissuade the public from attending?

“We’ve been engaging in that activity for the better part of five months, saying COVID-19 is amongst us. Don’t go to gatherings more than 100. I mean we were saying that from the state level, the federal level, the local level we give, we give it out every week,” the Mayor said.

Mayor Neeley and Chief Phil Hart add they couldn't step in on private property until a law was broken.

They've said the group at Hallwood Plaza grew from 50 to 1,000 people within minutes. The Chief said that's when his officers went to contact the organizers; and he said, as that was in progress, a fight happened and the shooting started.

“We were under fire and there was not one round of fire returned,” Chief Hart said. “So we handled this calmly. And as the Mayor said, we weren’t in special gear. We were in our street uniforms and handled this.”

The Chief's new task force arrested several people at the event because they had weapons on them.

Were any of them the actual shooters? The Chief said that’s under investigation.

He's asking for the public's cooperation, too. If you were there and saw anything, the Chief wants you to speak up.

Six people were injured in the shooting at Hallwood Plaza. Flint Police said all were treated at the hospital and are in good condition.

From Saturday night into Sunday morning, Flint Police report six other shootings happened.

The Chief doesn't believe they're connected to the pop-up party.

At last check, those shootings resulted in six other people being shot. According to Flint Police, four are in good condition, one person is listed in serious condition and the sixth person is in critical condition.

ABC12 News has been asking for the times and locations of those shootings, the ages of the victims and if anyone is in custody in connection to them.

Tuesday, the Chief replied, “We’re still investigating. As you can imagine, that was, that was quite, quite a night. We’re trying to get everything all sorted out, so that we know exactly what is. At this point, it doesn’t look like there’s any connection in any of them. But, I want to make sure before I give you any, any set facts. And, the locations, I can’t go into locations or anyone yet; because again, we’re still investigating to make sure that we have everything situated appropriately.”

ABC12 News will continue working to learn more and will keep you updated.

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