Isolated shooting near GV leads to safety discussions


GVL / Meghan Tripp

Payton Brazzil, Staff Writer

Feb. 11, multiple law enforcement agencies responded to a reported shooting at Campus View Apartments near the Grand Valley State University Allendale campus. 

Around 11:30 p.m., officers were notified of a potential shot suspect and found evidence of a shooting at a large party. Although police discovered no injuries, someone did arrive at the hospital with a bullet wound later that night, said Grand Valley Police Department Sergeant Leah Heaton. 

The Ottawa County Police Department, along with GVPD, investigated the incident and determined there was no ongoing threat to the community. 

Throughout the school year, students have received GVSUAlerts when a violent incident occurred on or off campus which includes shootings, robberies and assaults. However, the university did not send out a GVSUAlert for the shooting on Feb. 11. 

Heaton said no GVSUAlert was sent out because the department felt that there was no ongoing threat to students on or off campus.

Some students, like GVSU student Madison Marshall, were concerned about the lack of information from law enforcement. 

“Since I live near where the shooting happened, I guess I wish I heard about it somewhere other than social media,” Marshall said. “Everyone was talking about it on Yik Yak, which is anonymous, so I didn’t really know what was going on.” 

Yik Yak, a social media site that shows posts from users within a five-mile radius, is used by many college students across the country. Many GVSU students used posts on the app to speculate what had happened that night at Campus View.

Heaton said the department is aware of the information spread on Yik Yak. She said GVPD received calls from students regarding what they saw and other questionable posts on the app. 

“We take complaints through Yik Yak of being threatened and things like that, it’s an anonymous source, so it’s harder for us to follow up on those sorts of things, but I know it’s kind of used to promote parties,” Heaton said. 

Not only were people spreading alleged information about the shooting on Yik Yak, but multiple users pointed fingers at a specific party-promoter group called “Methods.”

Methods, a party-promotion page, is one of a few groups that use social media to promote party addresses in the GVSU area. While GVPD said they do not have information about who threw and promoted the party, some Yik Yak users are blaming Methods for the incident. 

“We care about safety as much as the next person and do not stand for this,” a Methods spokesperson said on their Snapchat story the day after the shooting.

Marshall said she understands why people might blame party promoter groups, but sees a bigger issue to the incident.

“Party addresses get spread to a bunch of different people online, so anyone can come, which can be dangerous because you don’t know who they are,” Marshall said. “But I think it’s not fair to completely blame Methods, or just the party promoters, because they weren’t the ones bringing the gun.” 

Heaton said when an address gets spread around on social media, it has the potential to draw a large crowd, with people who may not know the host.

Heaton said GVPD has seen violent incidents mainly at large parties, rather than smaller gatherings. 

“We don’t see reports of a shooting at a six-people gathering, it’s usually these very large parties that are attracting a lot of different people that are maybe not associated with the university in any way and just come for the party,” Heaton said. “That’s what we’ve kind of where we see the problem as well, but definitely the larger parties are the ones we’re seeing issues with.” 

She recommends that students avoid these types of parties, but also stressed the importance of having a safety plan no matter what. 

“I would avoid those large ones, stay with people you know, have a plan if you are somewhere and something happens so that you’re not leaving anyone behind,” Heaton said. “Everyone’s got cellphones, cameras – if you can grab pictures or videos of the incident, and you’re safe to do so, that’s always helpful to get stuff on film for investigators.”