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Fatal shootings of 2 children, 2 adults in Detroit house renew calls for end to violence

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Posted: October 18, 2007 7:28 p.m.
Updated: November 2, 2007 5:02 a.m.
    DETROIT — Two adults and two children were fatally shot as they slept Thursday in a home known for drug activity, renewing pleas for community members to take more responsibility in the fight against violence.
    Police were questioning someone found with the adult male victim’s vehicle, which they think the shooter took, Sgt. Eren Stephens Bell said. Police did not discuss a possible motive.
    Officers found no signs of forced entry after getting the call around 3:30 a.m., and the doors and windows of the two-story brick bungalow were reinforced with two-by-fours and locks, Police Chief Ella Bully-Cummings said. The bodies of the children were found in one room, police said, while the bodies of the adults were in another.
    Police have responded to the house in the past on reports of shots fired and narcotics complaints, Bully-Cummings said. A gun was not found at the scene, but casings from a high-powered weapon were recovered, she said.
    ‘‘I’m tired of seeing our children die,’’ the chief said. ‘‘We as adults have a responsibility to our children to allow them to grow up as adults in a safe environment, and we’re failing them.’’
    Pandora Eppinger said her niece, 9-year-old Alexus Eppinger, and nephew, 5-year-old Terrence Eppinger Jr., were killed.
    ‘‘It’s scary out here. You can’t go out anywhere and feel safe,’’ Eppinger said.
    ‘‘They were just little, sweet kids,’’ she said. ‘‘Why would they do that?’’
    The children’s mother, Lynnette Lawson, 28, and Jason Davis, 34, also died, according to the Wayne County medical examiner’s office and relatives who gathered in the morning rain near the home. The boy died of a gunshot wound to the abdomen, and the others were shot multiple times at close range, according to the medical examiner’s office.
    Georgia Davis, 53, said her son, Jason, had been dating Lawson recently.
    ‘‘Why would someone kill those kids?’’ she said. ‘‘They’re crazy.’’
    Bully-Cummings, speaking to reporters on the street just hours after the shootings, reiterated a plea for Detroiters to take responsibility for the community, one she has made repeatedly since taking the job in 2003.
    In 2004, she and other officials joined a coalition of ministers in prayer as they called on residents to join them in ending a culture of violence in the city. But the killings have continued.
    The four were killed a day after a man and woman were convicted of murdering two boys who were shot in a ransacked Detroit apartment in February. Authorities say they planned to kidnap the boys’ cousin and rob him of cocaine and cash.
    Three additional suspects are awaiting trial. A sixth suspect pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.
    In September, police said four people were killed in a shooting at a home where a large amount of illegal drugs were found. The county prosecutor’s office said a man is facing four murder charges.
    Deondrey Peterson, 33, lives near the scene of Thursday’s killings and said he wants to move out of Detroit because of such violence.
    ‘‘It’s ridiculous. It’s senseless,’’ Peterson said. ‘‘My main concern is the kids. ... How are we going to have a future?’’

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