The Rapidian

Community healing: Words of gratitude and encouragement from Mayor Heartwell after the July 7th tragedy

Mayor Heartwell applauds the efforts of the law enforcement, media, and citizens, and calls us as a community to pray for the victims and care for our neighbors.
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The events of yesterday have shaken our community to the roots and they test our will under fire.  What happened on the streets and in the neighborhoods of Grand Rapids is so uncharacteristic that it boggles the mind to even imagine it could happen here.

First, I call us as a community to pray for the victims of this horrific violence.  Seven people dead, two of them children.  Two others, innocent bystanders, wounded.  Three people held hostage.  Neighborhoods traumatized.  People all over the city deeply distressed.  We are a caring community and I call you today to care for your neighbor.  Talk with each other.  Reassure one another.  Pray for the friends and family members of the victims.

Second, I offer praise to our Grand Rapids Police Department.  They performed their duties masterfully under the most adverse of circumstances.  From their relentless pursuit of the suspect through the streets of Grand Rapids, under fire as they pursued, to the patient skillful negotiations we carried out that likely saved three lives… our police were courageous; our police showed professionalism.  This community has shown its faith in and support of our police department.  Yesterday we saw played out in full view through the media, just what a wise investment that is.

Area law enforcement joined us and I give special recognition to the Kent County Sheriff’s Department and Michigan State Police who joined us in direct intervention.  Federal agencies were involved:  ATF, FBI, and U.S. Marshall.  Also the police departments of our neighboring cities of Wyoming, Kentwood, Walker, Rockford, and Kalamazoo who supported us throughout the event. 

Third, I want to thank our citizens for their solid, active involvement with tips, with support and with appropriate response to the advice and instruction of the Police Department.  Citizens, you performed well. 

Finally, I want to compliment the media for the professionalism you showed last evening and into the night.  I know you stretched some of your rules of confirming sources – and told us you were doing so – to inform and protect our citizens living in neighborhoods that were at risk.  Thank you.

We have been shaken to the roots.  But our roots are deep.  And our faith is strong.  And our commitment to our home is unshakable.  Today we show why we are a great people.



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thanks for your leadership in these trying times....

I appreciate having you at the helm, Mr. Mayor.