You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Wed, Jun 8, 2011 : 5:58 a.m.

Following reported gunfire at party store, Ypsilanti residents express frustration and anger to city council

By Tom Perkins

Midtown residents are demanding the City of Ypsilanti take action to close a neighborhood party store following a burst of gunfire early Monday evening. Around a dozen residents expressed frustration and anger during city council’s Tuesday meeting over what they said was the city’s failure to address years of issues at the store.

An unidentified suspect fired semi-automatic rounds near Brandy’s Liquor Shop at Michigan Avenue and South Summit Street on Monday evening. Residents said the incident is only one of many over the last 10 years. Residents allege open drug dealing, fights, gunfire and prostitution have occurred near the store, some on vacant property nearby.

In response, city council passed a resolution requesting the Michigan Liquor Control Commission revoke the owners’ license and vowed swift action.

Andy Claydon, who lives on Summit Street across the street from Brandy’s, said he was mowing his lawn Monday evening when he heard what he thought was “extremely loud firecrackers” and saw a car speeding out of the parking lot.

He said he then heard more bursts of what he assumed were firecrackers as the car sped away. No one was running and two young girls casually walked around the corner from the store, Claydon said, reinforcing his assumption that the noise was only firecrackers. He said he was shocked to discover gun shells on the ground when the Ypsilanti Police arrived.

All of the residents who spoke at the meeting said they have endured issues stemming from the party store for too long and said their welfare is threatened.

“Unfortunately, I’m kind of used to the sound of guns shooting,” Claydon told council.

“I’m mad as hell,” said developer and Summit Street resident Eric Maurer. “I have to hold everyone here accountable because we’ve tried to close down that place down.”

In addition to the issues at the party store, a vacant home sits next door. Claydon said the home exacerbates problems at the store. Claydon said he believes an abandoned van on the property is being used regularly for prostitution, and each time the van is sealed, it is broken into again.

City Attorney John Barr said the city took the party store’s owners to court in 2008 and that case ended in a Washtenaw County Circuit Court judge ordering the owners to address crime issues and work with the community. A timeline on meeting the requirements of that order extended into 2010, Barr said, and the city was aware those deadlines and requirements weren’t being met last year.

As the city was preparing to re-initiate legal action, Barr said, the Michigan State Police and Ypsilanti Police were working on an undercover operation targeting the property. Because police officials feared the added attention of a lawsuit could jeopardize the undercover operation, legal action was delayed.

A raid following the operation resulted in several arrests and the store was closed down for a week, which several residents said was the most peaceful week they’ve experienced living in Ypsilanti. A judge subsequently reopened the 2008 case, Barr said. He said the additional information and affidavits from residents would bolster the city’s case.

“We are concerned and will take immediate action on this,” Barr said.

Ypsilanti Police Chief Amy Walker said police personnel make themselves as visible as possible around the store and respond to all calls and complaints they receive about Brandy’s. The investigation into Monday’s gunfire was hindered by video cameras at the store not working.

Council member Lois Richardson said she has always been in favor of closing the party store, even when other council members opposed the idea in favor of a deal in 2008. The store is in Ward 1, which Richardson represents. Council Member Ricky Jefferson, also a Ward 1 representative, said he wants to do what is possible to close the store.

“You all should be outraged,” he told the midtown residents.

Amanda Edmonds is the executive director at Growing Hope, which is an urban farm located next door to Brandy’s on Michigan Ave. She said Growing Hope’s staff has witnessed drug deals before 10 a.m., and she outlined several measures the city could take to close down the party store.

“There are a lot of strategies available and we need to up this game, because we can’t have this happening anymore,” she said.

Karen Maurer, developer and wife of Eric Maurer, said she feared for her children’s safety and expressed deep frustration with the ongoing problems.

“I’ve done a lot for this city, but I’m to the point that I’m tired of it,” she said. “I’m tired of defending the city when there are 20 gunshots down the block and I have four children playing on my lawn.”

Nanci Nanney said she was in her home when she heard the gunfire and she had to get one of her children away from the window.

“This is unreasonable,” she said. “You have to act. What is it going to take? Do one of our children need to die? Do one of us need to end up in the hospital? Do we have to have holes in the wall before you act?”

Claydon said he was frustrated the store's video cameras weren’t on.

“I have no problem with Brandy's itself,” Claydon said. “I go there all the time. It’s the walls of people hanging out in the parking lot that's the problem. I've seen fights break out in the store, but not as often as in the parking lot.

“We'll see what the city does about it. The one week it was shut down was the quietest week we've ever spent at our house.”



Wed, Jun 8, 2011 : 6:13 p.m.

party stores are a problem in general because they attract crime and criminals. too many in ypsi and too many 1/2 and 3/4 houses near them as well. brandy's is the worst and should be closed. my question is this, why does ypsilanti continue with such ineffective legal council? barr runs his legal opinions off a listserv and doesn't provide advice during council meets that is amounts to much beyond having to look at it again and again. council has had to re-visit everything he has done, even to the point of making us all vote twice on buses. so barr's advice and statements as quoted above are nothing but fluff. richardson too, she really working to close it down? because she's been on that council for forever, you'd think she would have figured out how to get something done by now. so, what are you really going to do?


Wed, Jun 8, 2011 : 6:12 p.m.

If you really want to stop that crap, the city should enforce their own Loitering laws. I live off of Grove, and every night, there are people just standing in front of stores. I have seen people "rolling" joints in their cars, with a 40 of beer. I'm sure it's the same element causing problems in this neighborhood. If the city would actively pursue loiters, you would have officers talking face to face with criminals, telling them to move on, or be arrested. Consequently, I think officers would make a lot more arrest for drug related crime. It worked in NYC, so I am sure, it would work here.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Wed, Jun 8, 2011 : 5:54 p.m.

I don't understand how closing the store is going to solve anything except for the immediate area around the store. Is the store really the problem. Wont closing the store mean that the troublemakers just do their shopping someplace else? I think the solution here is for us as a community to come up with a way to pay for the kind of police protection that can prevent these kinds of things from happening. I don't think it is fair to put the entire cost of solving this issue onto the owners of the store nor do I find it acceptable to make the neighbors of the store bear the entire social cost of having such a magnet in their neighborhood.


Wed, Jun 8, 2011 : 5:50 p.m.

Hopefully the liquour commision will do justice and revoke the license! and Bill, we're glad you live in Ann Arbor too. Because the one of the things we need less of is people like you that sit back from afar and critize others problems while we work hard to to come up with solutions.


Wed, Jun 8, 2011 : 5:29 p.m.

"An unidentified suspect fired semi-automatic rounds" Editor please note that the firearm was semi-automatic not the rounds. Semi-automatic refers to the type of actions of the firearm (how it reloads) not to the type of ammunition.


Wed, Jun 8, 2011 : 12:54 p.m.

"In addition to the issues at the party store, a vacant home sits next door. Claydon said the home exacerbates problems at the store. Claydon said he believes an abandoned van on the property is being used regularly for prostitution, and each time the van is sealed, it is broken into again." I don't understand. If the city is aware of both the abandoned property and the van: Who's sealing the van? Why don't they simply tow it to the dump? Why don't the metal scrappers come and get it? Who's responsible for the property? I assume the city by now. Who's responsible for maintaining it? Who's going to get sued if someone is dragged into it and assaulted? Why doesn't the city simply doze it? Why aren't these simple questions being asked and answered in this story?

Andrew Claydon

Wed, Jun 8, 2011 : 3:22 p.m.

The empty properties belong to Dave Kircher, who is presently in jail. The vans are also his property and being stored on his property. They've been there for several years. Only recently have they been broken into. Mr. Perkins story is based on comments made at a City Council meeting not a press report.


Wed, Jun 8, 2011 : 12:37 p.m.

This sounds like a typical drive-by shooting. The article's author does a poor job of connecting the shooting with the business other than it happened near the place. If this took place in the parking lot of St. John's, would we be blaming the Catholics and asking the city to ban fish frys?


Wed, Jun 8, 2011 : 4:03 p.m.

now that you mention it, didn't the nunnery receive a noise violation at one time?

Sandy Castle

Wed, Jun 8, 2011 : 3:35 p.m.

If the Catholics were allowing their parishioners to congregate for illegal purposes then the Catholics would be responsible for removing them from their property. If they failed to do this then yes, the City would have the right and the obligation to shut them down.

Andrew Claydon

Wed, Jun 8, 2011 : 3:31 p.m.

The article was about the meeting not the actual shoot out. No one at the meeting gave details of what actually happened just that they're unhappy it did. There's is no official police report yet so no one know all the deals. What I can tell you was the shoot out started in the parking lot and continued as the cars drove away. Thought that was pretty clear in the article.

dading dont delete me bro

Wed, Jun 8, 2011 : 12:56 p.m.

st.john's bakes their fish.

Jimmy McNulty

Wed, Jun 8, 2011 : 12:27 p.m.

Isn't this almost right across from the police station? I see the neighborhood just south of the party store across Michigan Ave. mentioned quite often in the crime section, so this is not surprising. If this nuissance business is shut down, where is the next closest party store? Keep an eye on that one for future troubles.

Wolf's Bane

Wed, Jun 8, 2011 : 12:01 p.m.

Sure glad I live in Ann Arbor!


Wed, Jun 8, 2011 : 8:56 p.m.

me too

Wolf's Bane

Wed, Jun 8, 2011 : 6:37 p.m.

Sure glad I STILL live in Ann Arbor.


Wed, Jun 8, 2011 : 12:54 p.m.

Nope, you sure don't.... <a href=""></a> <a href="" rel='nofollow'>;HomeID=107463&amp;page=Story20Archives</a> <a href=""></a> <a href=""></a>


Wed, Jun 8, 2011 : 12:51 p.m.

@Bill, That's not true a search of this site will show at least 2 examples. While it may not be reported as often (and notice I said reported not that it doesn't happen) it can and does happen anywhere. Even &quot;nice&quot; areas.

Wolf's Bane

Wed, Jun 8, 2011 : 12:28 p.m.

We don't have gun fire in residential neighborhoods. Zinggg...


Wed, Jun 8, 2011 : 12:24 p.m.

Right because these problems don't exist there either. Wink, Wink.


Wed, Jun 8, 2011 : 12:17 p.m.

I'm glad you live in Ann Arbor, too.

Wolf's Bane

Wed, Jun 8, 2011 : 11:55 a.m.

Brandy's Liquor Shop is notorious for allowing drug dealing and prostitution in their parking lot. I have witnessed firsthand the drug dealings. It is absolutely insane for Ypsilanti to tolerate this type of activity in the last okay residential neighborhood left in Ypsilanti. Unbelievable.

Concerned Citizen

Wed, Jun 8, 2011 : 10:58 p.m.

I live east of ecorse. My neighborhood is fine. You don't know what you are talking about.


Wed, Jun 8, 2011 : 5:42 p.m.

Oh I see you live in Ann Arbor.Typical from someone from A2 that has not a clue of what they are talking about


Wed, Jun 8, 2011 : 5:40 p.m.

What ? that neighborhood is FAR from ok.Across the street is the worst in the city.There are many good not ok neighborhoods in Ypsi.


Wed, Jun 8, 2011 : 11:28 a.m.

Close it down and put a medical marijuana dispensary there. It will help people to chill out and maybe not get in gun fights anymore. Plus it can produce more revenue for the struggling city. Win-win I'd say.

Wolf's Bane

Wed, Jun 8, 2011 : 12:01 p.m.

Nope, because the marijuana dispensaries don't pay sales taxes or taxes on the dope. Meaning that the only folks who benefit are the growers and sellers. Typical nonsense. Want to make it competitive? Tax it and legalize it.