Kalamazoo has joined the list of American cities suddenly thrust into the spotlight because of a mass shooting that left six people dead and two wounded.
Mayor Bobby Hopewell tells us that the investigation is still ongoing and that he hopes to speak with the victims or their families. He has not had a chance to speak with the family of the alleged shooter.
“My message to them is pretty much the same as it’s been for the entire community, and certainly the other victims. They are victims too,” he says. “We are a great community beyond this, and we’re going to show that for all the victims as well as the suspect’s family, because they are victims as well.”
Hopewell says Kalamazoo takes pride in national attention, “being the home of the Kalamazoo Promise, all of our children being able to go to college for free,” but never imagined something like Saturday’s shootings would thrust the city into the spotlight.
“This is just sad. We never thought we would be on that list,” he says.
He hopes that this incident will help spur a larger conversation about gun violence. “Violence happens anywhere, happens in communities all over this nation, not just these mass incidents. How do we make change in communities? How do we come together and maybe help this to be the last community that ever has something like this happen? I think that’s the conversation. It’s always about, how do we make our community better, grow and develop, and maybe learn something through all of this tragedy.”