A Mass Shooting Happened This Week In Detroit, But You Probably Didn't Hear About It

A Mass Shooting Happened, But You Didn't Hear About It

A mass shooting happened on Wednesday, but you probably didn't read about it in the news.

It happened at Al's Place, a barbershop. There was a back room in the salon where men would often gather to gamble, get a haircut and just talk. Wednesday was a "crumbs" dice game, only $5 and $10 bills allowed.

That afternoon, two men drove up in Chevrolet Impalas; one white, one black. They began exchanging gunfire.

One of them shot their high-powered rifle through the open door where the men were playing dice. The shots kept coming, at least 30 or 40 of them.

The men tried to run. Some of them hit the ground, crawling from the bullets whizzing through the air. But the door leading from the gambling room to the barbershop opened inward, and that slowed the crowd pushing to get out. Someone had a gun and fired back at the shooters. Customers were running for their lives.

The cops arrived two minutes after being called. They found two dead people and at least seven injured. A third injured man would later die at the hospital. One person of interest in the crimes was arrested Thursday after he allegedly assaulted a federal officer while wearing body armor. He has not yet been charged in connection with the barbershop slayings.

The three men who died at Al's Place on Wednesday were Elaine Williams' son, brother and nephew. But Williams hasn't been profiled by any national media outlets. Her story hasn't been widely shared yet, and it probably won't be, because the shooting happened in Detroit.

Shootings involving low-income people don't often become national media stories, says ThinkProgress:

Gun crimes often occur in low-income neighborhoods with largely non-white victims, but, from the news, you’d think every shooting put the white and affluent at risk of violence. There’s an obvious reason from a producer’s perspective: They want traffic, or viewers, and think they can get more if more well-off news consumers are self-concerned with the story. But it doesn’t reflect the reality of gun violence in the United States, where black people are far more likely to be victims of gun homicides compared to their white counterparts.

Last week, a gunman fired rounds in a New Jersey mall before taking his own life. There were no other casualties. The mall story made headlines around the nation.

But there were three triple homicides in Detroit last week. Three days before the barbershop slayings, a woman nine months pregnant and her brother were both shot and killed by a gunman, who also critically injured their 75-year-old relative. Her baby, delivered by emergency C-section after the 23-year-old woman was pronounced dead, also died in the hospital. Two days after the gunmen shot up Al's Place, police responding to a 911 call found two men and a 22-year-old woman all shot to death inside a home on Detroit's west side. No arrests have been made.

The working definition of a mass shooting requires a single instance where four or more victims are killed. These three triple homicides last week in Detroit don't technically qualify. Detroit Police Chief James Craig, the fourth cop to head the city's police department in five years, has his own name for these brutal acts that have claimed almost 300 lives so far this year in Detroit: "urban terrorism."

That's a term you likely won't be hearing on the news.

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