Sounds of gunshots replaced by silence in Flint neighborhood

Published: Mar. 10, 2021 at 5:08 PM EST
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - A spirit of cooperation is what Flint’s police chief credits for leading the Special Investigative Unit to get a trove of illegal guns, ammunition and drugs the city’s streets.

The team conducted two investigations in the last two weeks -- one of them at a home in Alexander Baker’s neighborhood. Last month, he raised concerns after five people, including an 11-month-old girl, were shot outside the home.

Baker said he spoke to City Hall and the Flint Police Department numerous times over the last year, but his concerns were never answered. That changed after ABC12 News aired a story outlining his concerns and he said his family no longer falls asleep to the sound of gunshots.

On Feb. 1, Baker said he had called the former Flint police chief 34 times, visited the mayor’s office 17 times and contacted the Flint City Council member representing his ward about concerns with the house across Tebo Street from his home. He said he received no response.

Days after the ABC12 News story aired, Baker had a meeting with Flint Police Chief Terence Green and Mayor Sheldon Neeley.

“I told the chief -- I said, it doesn’t make any difference after the shooting, the very next day they were back, setting up shop and doing what they needed to do. And that’s when he said he’ll take care of us,” Baker said.

Early last week, he captured video of the Flint Police Department Special Investigative Unit outside the house at 1915 Tebo Street. Baker saw at least four people in handcuffs and watched officers go in and out of the house several times while gathering evidence.

Green showed off a portion of those items Tuesday -- two tables of crystal meth, heroin, cocaine, cash from drug deals, illegal firearms and ammunition. Baker wasn’t surprised by what investigators found in the residence.

“Simply because the amount of traffic that was flowing through, I knew that they were moving something other than marijuana,” he said. “It was just too much.”

Baker had been asking for the city’s attention since March of last year, when he said the first shooting happened.

“Hindsight is 20/20. I wish they would have come this time last year and then maybe we wouldn’t have had all the death,” he said. “But it’s better late than never. It’s nice to be able to start to enjoy living in your home again.”

Baker is grateful that officials listened and actually took action. But his family still plans to move out of Flint to get away from the violence and already purchased a new house.

Baker said he didn’t give up on this effort because he believes ultimately it will help someone

“That action that Chief Green took I believe saved a lot of lives,” he said. “You can’t be afraid to speak up. I mean, you live here, this is your community and you have to stand up and fight for your community if you need to.”

While the violence is down, Baker said he still sees people coming and going from the house across the street. He’s hopeful it’ll be boarded up soon and then demolished by the city.

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