Search for motive, suspect in GR’s 1st homicide of 2020

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — As the search continues for a suspect in Grand Rapids’ first homicide of the new year, police say they have more questions than answers.

Investigators have identified the victim in the shooting as 29-year-old Tony Stewart. He was gunned down on Jan. 3 around 9 p.m. in the parking lot in front of Miss Tracy’s Liquor Store, which is located on Franklin Street SE near Neland Avenue SE.

Police say they’re still investigating why Stewart was targeted and say they haven’t found a motive from any witnesses to the shooting.

And as officers search for answers, Stewart’s family is searching for healing.

“My daughter woke me up, screaming,” said Stewart’s grandmother, Elsie Turner, who says she’s still reeling from the tragedy that left her family broken. “I was just kind of trapped in my thoughts, you know, and just praying and praying… any praying so hard for my baby.”

While authorities search for the gunman, Tuner says she believes her grandson is resting in heaven.

“He doesn’t have to deal with this anymore. He does not have to deal with the streets anymore,” she said. “But my prayer is for God to have mercy and take him in on the other side.”

As Turner works to make peace with her pain, Kandyss Standifer, Stewart’s first cousin, says she’s desperately trying to remember Stewart for how he lived — not how he passed.

“He was lovable, he came in, he was the life of the party, he just made everybody smile,” Standifer said.

As loved ones embark on a new year without Stewart, they say they find comfort in photos of him, assuring them that Stewart’s spirit lives on.

“His granny loves him so much,” Turner said. “His granny (is) praying so much.” 

Stewart’s family says they can’t think of a reason why anyone would want to hurt him. In the meantime, they’re in the process of making funeral arrangements and preparing to say their final goodbyes.

Anyone with information in Stewart’s homicide should contact the Grand Rapids Police Department at 616.456.3982 or Silent Observer at 616.774.2345.