Detroit to crack down on illegal block parties after 21 people shot, 2 fatally

No arrests have been announced and officials say an investigation is ongoing.

July 8, 2024, 1:14 PM

A major crackdown on illegal pop-up block parties was announced Monday by Detroit leaders following multiple shootings that erupted at outdoor get-togethers since the Fourth of July, including one Sunday where two people were killed and 19 injured.

Detroit Police Chief James White said the shooting that erupted at a large illegal block party in east Detroit early Sunday involved multiple shooters, including at least one using a handgun fitted with a so-called "Glock switch," a banned device that turns semiautomatic Glock firearms into machine guns.

The shooting unfolded around 2:25 a.m. on the city's east side near Wish Egan Field in the Mohican Regent neighborhood, according to police.

Detroit police investigate a shooting on July 7, 2024, left two people dead and 17 injured at a block party on the city's east side.

White said investigators recovered more than 100 shell casings and nine different weapons at the crime scene. He said the shooting left 15 women and six men shot, including a 20-year-old woman who was fatally shot in the head and a 21-year-old man who was fatally shot in the back.

No arrests have been announced.

When the shooting broke out, White said police officers were nearby investigating gunfire that erupted at another illegal block party.

"We're not going to have neighbors becoming hostages in their own homes this summer, and that's what's happening," Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said at a news conference Monday attended by White and anti-violence community leaders.

Duggan said that since July 4, six shootings have occurred at illegal pop-up block parties, including the one on Sunday, leaving a total of 27 people shot, three fatally. White added that 11 of the victims were from out of town.

Duggan noted the string of block party shootings comes amid a historic 33% decrease in overall violent crime in the Motor City in 2023 compared to 2022, including an 18% drop in homicides and a 16% reduction in non-fatal shootings.

"This threatens to undo a year of progress and we are going to act to address it," Duggan said.

Moving forward, White said a special task force of 80 officers will focus on responding to illegal block parties in the city and prosecuting property owners and organizers of the events. He said other officers will be assigned to patrol the city specifically looking for the illegal parties.

"These are pre-planned events attracting people miles away," White said.

He said organizers of the pop-up block parties have tried to surreptitiously spread the word of the get-together over social media, attracting people from outside Detroit and even from outside the state.

White said anyone throwing a block party must adhere to established city rules requiring hosts to apply for a block-party permit, advise police of the event and get permission from 75% of their neighbors. He said city rules also require that the parties end by 10 p.m.

He said 911 complaints of illegal block parties occurring will be elevated to a high priority-one response, meaning officers will immediately be sent to investigate.

White said that since May, the police department has received more than 500 911 calls reporting disturbances stemming from illegal pop-up block parties.

"We’re going to make it clear that right now the goal is not to chase the partygoers but to go after the party organizers," White said.

Michigan State Police are assisting the Detroit Police Department in the investigation of Sunday's mass shooting through its joint Homicide Task Force.

A motive for the shooting remains under investigation.

Police are asking anyone with information about the shooting to call Crime Stoppers or contact Detroit police detectives.

Sunday's incident follows several recent shootings that have occurred at illegal Detroit block parties.

On July 4, three women were shot and wounded at an unauthorized block party in northwest Detroit that had attracted several hundred partygoers, police said.

On June 15, an 18-year-old girl was killed and five other people were injured, including a 14-year-old girl, at a block party on the east side of Detroit.

On June 1, four people were shot, two critically, at a late-night party outside a north Detroit home. Eight guns and 93 shell casings were recovered at the crime scene. Two of the weapons were found to be stolen, including the one equipped with a Glock switch, police said.

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