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4 found slain in Detroit home; homicides spiking

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Credit: Fox 2 News Credit: Fox 2 News

By MIKE HOUSEHOLDER
Associated Press


DETROIT (AP) -- Four people were found shot to death in a Detroit home, authorities said Wednesday, padding the city's homicide total that already has surpassed last year's.
 
Officers discovered the bodies of a teenage boy, two men and woman Tuesday night at a home in an east-side neighborhood. Investigators believed the killings were drug-related, police spokeswoman Yvette Walker said.
 
The Wayne County medical examiner's office identified the victims Wednesday as Shawn Bender, 16; Janetta Harris, 22; Jason Koester, 28; and Dyrelle Davis, 34. Harris died of multiple gunshot wounds, while the other three were shot in the head, according to the office.
 
The block where the bodies were found has about two dozen two-story homes. Like many Detroit neighborhoods, several of the homes are vacant. On the front door of one vacant home, someone affixed a sign that reads: "This building is being watched."
 
Carla Collins, 49, said that in August, she and some of her neighbors formed the "Tacoma Street Block Club," a neighborhood watch, because suspicious activity in the area spiked when an abandoned building across the street from her home became a "dope house."
 
"This was a quiet neighborhood," said Collins, who moved there three years ago.
 
The killings were the latest in what has been a particularly violent year in Detroit. The city announced last week that homicides rose this year, reaching 354 through Thanksgiving after totaling 344 for all of 2011.
 
At a news conference Wednesday, Mayor Dave Bing said safety was a top priority and announced that 13 police mini-stations would open throughout the city by the end of the winter.
 
"We heard you," Bing said, referring to citizens' complaints that police officers sometimes are hard to find on the streets.
 
The mini-stations will be situated in recreation centers, shopping centers and other sites, and each location will be staffed with a permanent officer, a police reservist and a community volunteer.
 
Six were open on Wednesday, two are to debut by the end of the month and the remaining five will be in place by March.
 
"For way too long, no doubt about it, there's just too much crime in our city," Bing said.
 
Interim Police Chief Chester Logan said he was a mini-station officer years ago and referred to Detroit as a "pioneer" in the community policing concept. But, Logan said, the city gravitated away from the mini-station idea in the 1970s as Detroit's population began to decline and public funds became scarce.
 
"I'm so excited that the mayor approved this concept," Logan told reporters at the Butzel Family Center, home to one of the newly reopened mini-stations.
 
Bing said the mini-stations will be "much more than a place to report crime."
 
"You're going to get to know each other," the mayor said, referring to the sometimes strained relationship between residents and law enforcement in the city.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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