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Posted on Thu, Jan 20, 2011 : 2:46 p.m.

Recent spate of shootings in Ypsilanti Township linked to feud between two groups, sheriff says

By Tom Perkins

Washtenaw County sheriff's investigators say a series of recent non-fatal shootings in the area — primarily in Ypsilanti Township — appear to be linked to a feud between two groups of people.

Sheriff Jerry Clayton said the county has seen an escalation in violence over the last 30 to 45 days, and an even sharper rise in the last three weeks.

Investigators have information detailing several possible sources of the feud, including a dispute over a girl, Clayton said. Sheriff’s officials declined to comment on how many people are involved with the two groups, but said the violence isn’t considered gang-related.


Sheriff Jerry Clayton said police have marshaled resources to investigate a series of recent shootings.

Ryan J. Stanton |

Clayton said investigators have interviewed most of the victims, but said they have largely been uncooperative.

“We have been and continue to reach out to community members and are asking anyone who has knowledge of any of these crimes to come forward and report this information to the Sheriff’s Office,” Clayton said. “Witness information will go a long way in assisting us with bring this violence to an end.”

Clayton declined to say what other types of violence are related to the feud, beyond the shootings. Clayton said the Sheriff’s Department has “marshaled significant resources to address this issue, including the use of resources outside of the Sheriff’s Office itself.”

No one has been fatally shot so far, and the two groups appear to be targeting one another, police said.

Among the recent incidents:

  • Jan. 10: Gunmen fired multiple shots into a vehicle in a parking lot in in the 1000 block of Share Avenue in Ypsilanti Township and fled before police arrived.
  • Jan. 9: Two adults and four children escaped serious injury after two armed men kicked down the door to their Ypsilanti Township home and fired five shots as one of the adults attempted to escape from the rear of the home with the children.
  • Jan. 7: Two men suffered non life-threatening injuries after being shot near a convenience store in the 2000 block of South Grove Street in Ypsilanti Township.
  • Jan. 5: Two students — an Eastern Michigan University student and Washtenaw Community College student — suffered non life-threatening injuries after being shot during a fight on Briardale Court in Ypsilanti Township.
  • Jan. 1: Shots were fired at an occupied home in the 500 block of East Grand Boulevard in Ypsilanti Township.
  • Dec. 29: A woman suffered a gunshot wound to the arm when someone fired shots in the 600 block of Villa Drive in Ypsilanti Township.

Angela Barbash, head of the New West Willow Neighborhood Association, said her neighbors have seen other acts of violence in the past two months.

Most recently, a neighbor reported seeing a man beaten in the street by a group of people who pulled up in a van, Barbash said. But she said the victims and witnesses were afraid to call the police.

Ypsilanti Police Chief Amy Walker said three separate shootings that occurred between Dec. 29 and Dec. 31 in Ypsilanti appear to be unrelated to the feud in Ypsilanti Township.

In Ypsilanti, a man was allegedly shot outside the Tap Room bar; a man’s head was grazed with a bullet near Michigan Avenue and Hawkins Street; and residents awoke to the sound of stray bullets breaking their windows on Davis Street. Police said that shooting likely resulted from bullets fired during some type of chase through backyards in the area.

Both Clayton and Walker sent notices this week to neighborhood associations and other groups updating them on the shootings and their investigations.

A shooting also occurred in Pittsfield Township during the same general timeframe. A 20-year-old man was shot in the leg Jan. 4 during a dispute in the parking lot of the Glencoe Hills apartment complex, police said. That incident is not believed to be related to the others, police said.

Detectives have found no correlation between the three shootings in Ypsilanti or the cases in Ypsilanti Township, Walker said. She added investigators are uncertain whether two of the shootings reported between Dec. 29 and Dec. 31 actually occurred in the city. The victims have been uncooperative and changed their stories several times, Walker said. No arrests have been made.

Barbash said the violence has West Willow residents nervous. The neighborhood association runs a citizen’s patrol and is meeting with a Sheriff’s Department lieutenant for more information next week.

“We’ve never had a spate of shootings like this — one right after another after another,” she said. “It’s kind of gotten everyone on edge.”

In one recent incident, a stray bullet flew through a resident’s kitchen window.

“It doesn’t mater how much information you have or how much patrolling you do, you can’t protect your family against that,” she said.

Tom Perkins is a freelance writer for Reach the news desk at or 734-623-2530.



Fri, Feb 11, 2011 : 5:30 p.m.

@ UgottaBkidding; @ katie: (imho) Gangs shoot to kill.


Sun, Feb 6, 2011 : 5:20 a.m.

Armed robbies, home invasion, and a solve murder for 2008 is the cause for some of these shooting. And when people did step up and tried to help out, sadly their house was also shot up. Their are also some retaliation going on regarding an unslove murder from 2009. I wouldn't say thats it's gang related but it most consist of persons from the Ypsi and Willow Run area. The good news is that do to Washtenaw Courty officer doing a good job arresting a few people with guns, now maybe some of the shooting will stop but who's to say. Sadly we are still losing our young black men to the streets, one way or another!


Fri, Jan 21, 2011 : 6:54 p.m.

Thanks, Sheriff Clayton for addressing this issue. I would like to know the following, perhaps the reporter could find out more. How does the sheriff define "gang?" How does he define "group?" This would help us better understand the situation.


Fri, Jan 21, 2011 : 6:15 p.m.

Feud between two GROUPS?! C'mon now...I think you mean GANGS!!


Fri, Jan 21, 2011 : 2:15 p.m.

@BP, do you go to the Neighborhood Watch meetings? The Next one for Gault VIllage is 02/28 at 7 PM. Down at St. Matthews. If you don't already go, you really should! It's nice to meet neighbors, and the police officers who are typically assigned to our area. In fact, anyone who is completely freaked out about all the recent crime should start going to Neighborhood Watch meetings. There really isn't an excuse not to, at this point.


Fri, Jan 21, 2011 : 9:41 a.m.

Sorry: should have written "latter" - meaning the 1/4 million who carry legally for self defense.


Fri, Jan 21, 2011 : 9:39 a.m.

dalex: An armed society can be a polite society: provided that it's a rational society to begin with. Do please remember that, despite that these individuals are frightening, they are a tiny minority in our society. Do not make the association between these few and the 250,000+ legally licensed Michigan gun owner / carriers. The former group is larger:and has virtually zero record of violence.


Fri, Jan 21, 2011 : 9:32 a.m.

Well that's a situation that deserves to be called out of control! At least law enforcement has a handle on this and is taking steps to end this feud. For a while, it looked like unrelated happenings, an "out break" of shootings. I'd be interested to see the biographies of all the individuals involved. What kind of parenting and mentoring did each have, how did they all arrive at the "force, retaliation and intimidation is the answer" mentality displayed? We have an example of where such people can lead us: Mexico.

Travis G. Greer

Fri, Jan 21, 2011 : 6:55 a.m.

The situation is very disheartening for Ypsilanti Township residents. Thank you Sheriff Clayton for your diligence and for keeping the community up to date on the situation.


Fri, Jan 21, 2011 : 3:26 a.m.

As a resident in the neighborhood, all I have to say is tiem to arm ourselves even more. May have to begin 24 hour citizens patrols. It's sad, none of us can afford to sell our homes, yet we are stuck in the midst of the mess. We don't shop at the Gault village shops, no longer will we be going into the In n Out. This was a good, decent neighborhood to live in, now it's becoming like Detroit.


Fri, Jan 21, 2011 : 1:02 a.m.

Live by the gun; die by the gun. --Just sayin'.


Fri, Jan 21, 2011 : 12:29 a.m.

One putting out information for the public to be aware and another trying to say that some of the shootings may not even be an Ypsilanti City issue. And I thought Sheriff Clayton was the politician.


Thu, Jan 20, 2011 : 11:24 p.m.

It is a blessing that no one has been killed. This has to STOP!! When they get caught, hopefully, they will be sentenced to a little more than just probation.... Let's not wait for a tragedy to occur before doing something about it!


Thu, Jan 20, 2011 : 10:36 p.m.

More guns is the answer. I'm not sure what the question was anymore, but I'm sure the answer is "more guns."


Thu, Jan 20, 2011 : 11:14 p.m.

Wrong the answer is NOT more guns. It's leveling the playing field and making regular citizens capable of defending themselves against violent criminals.


Thu, Jan 20, 2011 : 9:40 p.m.

Sounds like the Hatfields and McCoy's are at it again. Time for the sheriff and his deputies to round em up and lock them down.


Thu, Jan 20, 2011 : 9:40 p.m.

"But she said the victims and witnesses were afraid to call the police." Nothing will get better until this attitude changes.


Thu, Jan 20, 2011 : 9:33 p.m.

One of my friends keeps trying to convince me that an armed society is a polite society.

Bertha Venation

Thu, Jan 20, 2011 : 9:29 p.m.

Great job, Sheriff Clayton! West Willow sounds like a scary place. Kind of reminds me of when I was married to the mob back East.


Thu, Jan 20, 2011 : 9:06 p.m.

Love the terminology....not gang related...but 'group' related...on in our area...

Rod Johnson

Fri, Jan 21, 2011 : 3:34 a.m.

If it's not a gang, it's not a gang. Words have meanings.


Thu, Jan 20, 2011 : 9:07 p.m.

sorry...'only' not 'on' [damn salsa on a keyboard]


Thu, Jan 20, 2011 : 8:43 p.m.

Mr. Jerry Clayton, sure is doing a wonderful JOB, I am so glad that I did vote for him and the crime is so much better in all of Washtenaw co. and Not just West Willow. Recently, I was lost in the West willow area and in the past, I had residents come out of their front door with guns and this time I saw a nice Police officer that did stop to help me. It was so different and nice being in West Willow.


Thu, Jan 20, 2011 : 8:36 p.m.

No aanative, those aren't the citizens of Detroit you're referring to, those are thugs just like in this story, but on a larger scale.


Thu, Jan 20, 2011 : 8:34 p.m.

Glad to have a follow up story on all these shootings. Thanks Sheriff Clayton for the info and Good Luck with putting an end to the violence.


Thu, Jan 20, 2011 : 8:29 p.m.

To behold the wonders of a fully-armed citizenry look no further than Detroit.


Thu, Jan 20, 2011 : 9:15 p.m.

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