Editor’s note: In the continuing effort to keep Torch readers informed, this story is being posted in advance of the Wednesday, Feb. 5, print edition. This story and much more can be found in tomorrow’s issue which features a special section devoted to the Venlo Place Apartments shooting.
An official Ferris Black Greek Council Icebreaker event Friday night ended in an off-campus unofficial after-party shooting early Saturday morning.
Multiple Ferris students have contacted the Torch with information regarding the details of the situation at Venlo Place Apartments.
Ferris sophomore criminal justice major Stanley Pates confirmed previous reports. He witnessed the entire shooting from his car.
Pates had been at the Venlo party earlier and left but returned to pick up friends around 4 a.m. Prior to leaving, Pates saw both DeCory Demarco Downing, 20, of Macomb, and former Ferris student Shaionna Brown, 18, of Mt. Clemens, at the party.
Downing was arraigned Monday, Feb. 3, on one charge of attempted murder, eight felony firearm charges, seven assault charges and a concealed weapons charge for his suspected involvement in the Venlo shooting.
Brown was charged with accessory after the fact to a felony, possession of a felony firearm and carrying a concealed weapon.
The Icebreaker “Stoplight Party” event was listed on the official Ferris State University campus calendar as scheduled to begin at 10 p.m. Friday, Jan. 31, and end at 2 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 1, at Wink Arena.
Some attendees at the event, which required participants to wear green, yellow or red in accordance with their dating status, moved off-campus to continue the festivities at Venlo, according to multiple sources.
Black Greek Council President and Ferris senior marketing major Kevin Baldwin said the Icebreaker event is held at the beginning of every semester.
“It’s a party that we throw,” Baldwin said. “It’s always on campus at Wink Arena. There’s dancing and music. Other Greek organizations might call it a social.”
When the Icebreaker ended, attendees went their separate ways, according to Baldwin.
“The shooting was a tragic happening, but as far as the shooting is concerned, it has no relationship to the Black Greek Council,” he said. “The victim and his family are in our prayers because that’s the kind of organization the Black Greek Council is.”
The victim, Ferris student Andre Powell, 19, of Southfield, is not a member of any Black Greek fraternity, according to Baldwin.
Pates said he saw Downing and Brown in a car parked outside the Venlo party. Downing was backing the vehicle up when a passing car caused him to slam on the brakes to avoid a collision. The driver of the other vehicle slapped his hand repeatedly on the trunk of Downing’s car through an open window then drove off.
Pates said a nearby group of six people, including Powell, were outside watching Downing try to leave. According to Pates, some of the people in the group looked to be exchanging words with Downing through an open window. Pates said he could not hear what they were saying.
Although he did not see it himself, Pates was later informed by several friends, who were also at the party, that members of the group were arguing with Downing earlier in the night.
Downing pulled forward, put the vehicle in park and proceeded to get out of the car with a gun in hand, according to Pates.
“As he got out of the car, he cocked the gun and walked up on them,” Pates said.
From his car, Pates witnessed Downing point the gun at someone’s head. He does not believe that person was Powell.
Another member of the group pushed the gun away. Downing attempted to lift the gun again, and an individual, who Pates believed to be Powell, reached for the gun. In doing so, the gun discharged.
“I heard a shot and saw a flash of light,” Pates said.
Downing turned, ran to his vehicle and sped off with Brown. Pates was forced to put his own vehicle in reverse in order to get out of Downing’s way as he exited Venlo.
Concerned, Pates pulled up to the scene to see if anyone was injured. He did not see Powell and spoke with a man he did not know through his open car window.
“I asked if everything was alright,” Pates said. “He told me the gun was fake and said no one was hurt. That’s why I was confused later when I found out there was a shooting.”
At 4:15 a.m., police were notified that someone had been shot in the Venlo parking lot.