DETROIT, MICHIGAN – One man is in critical condition after a woman opened fire on a crowd leaving a midnight cruise on the Detroit Princess riverboat today, according to police.
Police are still searching for the suspect in the 1:15 a.m. shooting, which left six others with minor injuries, Detroit Police Sgt. Alan Quinn said. The shooting took place on the shore, near the boarding area behind Joe Louis Arena.
The altercation apparently began as an argument aboard the boat, Quinn said. Radio One Detroit’s station Hot 107.5, which plays hip hop and rap, was hosting the On Deck Sunday Moonlight Cruise. The event is touted on the boat’s Facebook page as a nightclub atmosphere on a cruise from 10:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. The Detroit Princess also provides a DJ for the cruise, playing softer music on the boat’s top deck.
“It looks like a group of people were getting in some kind of fight,” said Quinn. “When they got back to shore, a female who was involved in the fight got into her car, drove back…and then she shot into the crowd of people who were getting off the boat.”
Keith Gillespie, the assistant promotions director with Radio One Detroit, was just getting off the boat when the shooting happened. He ran back onto the riverboat and shut the door until the the gunfire stopped.
“As I was walking out the door, I heard some commotion with some women and gunshots rang out,” Gillespie said today, adding that he immediately called a Detroit Police officer who is a friend and happened to be patrolling nearby. “It was real scary because people started running in every direction.”
Gillespie said he opened the door again when one of the victims started knocking loudly, yelling he’d been hit. When the shooting ended, they discovered three women laying in the grass with wounds to their legs.
“After I realized there were more people down, I called (police) and told them … we needed more ambulances,” said Gillespie, 45, of Royal Oak. He and others used tablecloths from the boat to hold pressure on the women’s wounds.
“My mind said this could be somebody’s mother, my mother — I’d want somebody to stop and help her,” he said.
The suspect drove off. A description of her or her car was not immediately available, Quinn said.
Detroit Princess owner and Captain John Chamberlain said everyone who boards the boat — about 500 for Sunday’s cruise — is checked for weapons. Chamberlain, who has operated riverboats for 35 years, said this was the first time he’s experienced a shooting incident near one of his boats.
“We search everyone coming in and this is why,” Chamberlain said. “We’re sorry to see something like this happen. You have a lot of crazy people out there.”