GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., (WOOD) — The Grand Rapids Police Department identified the city’s latest homicide victim as 23-year-old Martell Deon-Daajon Phillips Thursday afternoon.
Police say Phillips was shot and killed around 2:15 p.m. Wednesday near Wealthy Street and Diamond Avenue SE.
Investigators say the alleged shooter, 23-year-old Jalen Travis Hoblet-Arnold of Grand Rapids, called police and turned himself in without incident.
The shooting marked the city’s 19th homicide, more than all of 2019.
GRPD Chief Eric Payne spoke to News 8 shortly after the shooting.
“This is upsetting to me. This senseless violence that’s occurring on the streets, it has to stop,” Payne said. “This community deserves better and we can do better if we work together. And if you sense I’m a little upset about this I am, and everyone should be.”
Hoblet-Arnold has been charged with open murder and is currently being held at the Kent County Correctional Facility.
Hoblet-Arnold’s family told News 8 there was some sort of altercation at the Wealthy Market and he shot the victim in self-defense.
The victim’s family says they’ve been left to navigate a pain they know all too well.
“It’s kind of hard and you just got to try to get over the hump and live day by day,” said Phillips’ aunt Felicia Jones.
Jones says in two years, her family has lost three people to violence.
In 2018, Kaharee McIntosh-Williams was shot and killed near Delaware Street. In June, Darnell McIntosh, Jones’ brother, was killed near Marshall Avenue and 33rd Street. On Wednesday, Jones says she saw her nephew, Martell Phillips laying lifeless at Wealthy Market.
“2020 has been kind of terrible for us. We’re going through a lot,” Jones said.
Phillips’ family says they called him by his nickname, “Mutt.” They described him as the type of person to always say he loved you.
“He was a jokester, just everything he made funny. He was loving. He loved his family, he loved his friends,” said Jamoni Jones, the victim’s cousin.
Family says Phillips leaves behind two children, his siblings, his mother and several other family members.
“He wasn’t like how everybody is seeing him now,” Jamoni Jones said. “He was more than that.”
The victim’s family says they’ll be holding on to each other a little tighter tonight.
“Project love because that’s the greatest gift we got is love. Do it while you can because when they’re lying down there, it’s too late,” said James Jones, the victim’s uncle.
The shooting remains under investigation. GRPD is expected to make a statement on violence in the city on Friday morning.