DETROIT (WWJ) - Two young children watched as a man fatally shot their mothers and another person inside an abandoned Detroit home, then apparently spent the night with the bodies before help arrived, according to one of the victims’ relatives.
Neighbors reported hearing gunshots Wednesday night at or near the house on the 11300 block of Coyle, near Plymouth and Greenfield roads on the city’s west side. The next morning, a neighbor made the gruesome discovery inside the house — three people had been shot to death and two children, ages 5 and 1, were left abandoned.
Police identified two of the victims as 25-year-old Lauren Trotty and 20-year-old India Coleman. The third victim, 25-year-old Curtis Clements, was identified by family members. Police said all of the victims appeared to have received gunshot wounds to the body, but provided no additional details. Reports say a shotgun was used in the killings.
Kenyetta Hunt, a relative of Clements, told reporters Trotty’s 5-year-old child witnessed the shooting and identified the shooter as her mother’s ex-boyfriend. The toddler also reportedly said the 1-year-old, Coleman’s child, witnessed the shooting.
“I think she’s going to be traumatized for the rest of her life after seeing her mom get killed,” Hunt told The Detroit News. “She is going to need a lot of family around her.”
Neighbors said their calls of shots fired at the house, which was being used by squatters, went unanswered. As a result, relatives say the children were inside the house with the bodies for hours after the shooting, even spending the night there, since police did not respond earlier.
Detroit Police Sgt. Eren Stephens said police did respond. However, when neighbors called around 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, Stephens said they gave an address that was in the 11900 block of Coyle — a few blocks away from where the shooting actually took place. Stephens said police responded to the 11900 block of Coyle that night and found no problems. Police were called back to the neighborhood around 9:30 a.m. Thursday after the bodies were discovered.
Detroit police say they’ve made one arrest in the case, although that person’s identity was not immediately released. An investigation is ongoing.
Detroit has thousands of vacant homes, many of which are a magnet for crime. Earlier in February, bodies were found in two separate abandoned Detroit homes on the same day, one of which was on fire. One of the bodies was identified as 23-year-old Dynasty Myles, a mother who had been missing since New Year’s Day.
Using abandoned properties for crime isn’t something new to the city, either. On Wednesday, police announced they were looking for 25-year-old Antowan Stitts, a recently identified suspect in the 2011 murder of a man whose body was found after a fire at a vacant garage.
During his State of the City address last month, Mayor Dave Bing again vowed to demolish 10,000 vacant properties by the end of his first term. So far, Bing said the city has demolished roughly 6,800 vacant properties since he took office in 2009 after winning a special election to replace disgraced ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. Bing’s term ends in November.