Detroit police arrest teen in Noel Night shooting, mull curfew for event

Dec 4, 2017 at 2:05 pm
click to enlarge Noel Night attendees outside the Detroit Institute of Arts on Dec. 2. - Jordan Buzzy
Jordan Buzzy
Noel Night attendees outside the Detroit Institute of Arts on Dec. 2.
A 16-year-old has been arrested in connection with the shooting of four teenagers during the annual Noel Night celebration in Midtown, Detroit Police Chief James Craig said in a Monday news conference.

Thousands of people were gathered in the city's cultural center for the Saturday night event when shots rang out from the area between the Michigan Science Center and the Detroit Institute of Arts. The shooting sent hundreds scrambling and prompted an early shutdown of the family event. Initially, Craig says there were reports of an active shooter within the science center, but those reports were inaccurate.

The shooting followed a scuffle between Detroit high school kids over something that transpired during a football championship event the week prior at Ford Field, Craig said. The students, he said, were from East English Village Preparatory Academy.

"It was an unfortunate situation," said Craig. "It should have never happened."

But such incidents aren't uncommon for large events in Detroit's greater downtown. Annual fireworks celebrations on the riverfront have historically been marred by shootings, prompting city officials to impose curfews for youth in recent years.

Craig said he was considering the same for future Noel Nights, saying that he saw "hundreds of unsupervised youth" around the scene of the Saturday shooting. He added that there had been fights at the event in the past.

"Had we had a curfew in place for this, would it have happened? Probably not," said Craig.

Although Craig said the Detroit Police Department has had "great success" with the fireworks after imposing a curfew, there were two shooting incidents at the event this year — one of which involved teens.

Craig said a volunteer effort like that of the former Angel's Night could also help keep big events that draw crowds from throughout the region safe.

For now, police report the four teens hurt in the shooting — a 14, 15, 17, and 19-year-old — are in stable condition.

Updated at 4:48 P.M. on Dec. 4:

This post has been updated to correct the timing of the Ford Field event that preceded the altercation between the teens.