By Rosemary Regina Sobol
10:49 AM CDT, October 23, 2013
At least one person walked past former Simeon football player Demarius Reed after he was shot near the Eastern Michigan University campus, but she thought he was just passed out from a party and continued on, according to police.
At least six other people heard shots around the time Reed was killed early Friday morning in an apartment complex stairwell but did not call police, according to Ypsilanti Police Chief Tony DeGiusti.
Police disclosed the new details as another student reported being pistol-whipped in a nearby complex a few days later. Four other attacks on or near the campus -- including two rapes -- have been reported to police since the slaying of Reed, who was a starting wide receiver on Eastern Michigan's football team.
“This has been an extremely bizarre and unusual series of events the past few days. Senseless and random acts of violence,” Eastern Michigan President Susan Martin told a community forum that drew more than 200 people at the Eastern Michigan student center in Ypsilanti Tuesday night. “I want to reassure our students our campus was safe and is safe. We’ve taken many, many measures to enhance safety on campus ... (but) this is not acceptable.”
Walter Kraft, Eastern Michigan's vice president of communications, added: “We need to do more. We need to do better.”
Eastern Michigan Police Chief Robert Heighes said police need the public's help, noting that authorities got no calls about Reed until his roommate found him slumped on a stairwell landing of the University Green Apartments around 7:15 a.m. Friday.
“Police can’t be everywhere,” he told the forum. “It’s a collaborative effort. We need the support of our community and at times the community needs to step up and share information so we can address the issue. Hearing about it hours later does no good. The sooner we can learn about it, the quicker our response and potential leads can come out, and help solve that crime.”
Earlier this week, police said they want to talk to anyone who attended an "after party" in the same building that began around 2 a.m. The party was on the ground floor and Reed was found on the third floor. A $5,000 reward is being offered in the case.
DeGiusti said police need people to step forward and help them solve Reed's murder. "We are actively working some solid leads,” he said. “We are diligently working on this case.”
Around 30 people have been interviewed by police, a dozen pieces of evidence collected and several residences have been searched, DeGiusti said.
Three days after the shooting, a student in a nearby apartment complex said he answered a knock at his door and was hit in the face by a man holding a gun, police said. As he fought with the attacker in the hallway, other people kicked in the front window of his apartment, according to a police report.
Other recent attacks include the sexual assault of an 18-year-old student in her room at Putnam Hall Friday, and the sexual assaults of another 18-year-old woman in the same residence hall on Saturday, according to police.
Police said they were also investigating two off-campus attacks that occurred Saturday and Sunday and could be connected.
Around 2:20 a.m. Saturday, a student was walking with a friend in the Peninsular Place Apartment complex parking lot just north of campus when they noticed a older model silver van in the parking lot with five or six people inside. The student said the van "clipped" his friend’s leg, police said.
The friend ran from the scene while the people in the van jumped out and punched the student, knocking him to the ground, police said.
At 2:15 a.m. Sunday, a student was on his cell phone while walking in the parking lot behind Abe’s Coney Island at 402 Michigan Ave. across the street from the College of Business when a man confronted him and asked him a question, police said. After punching him, four or five others got out of a van -- also silver and an older model -- and punched him, knocking him down and taking his wallet and cell phone, police said. They fled in the van and the student was treated at a hospital.
Reed's funeral is scheduled for Saturday.
During his years at Simeon Career Academy, Reed played receiver and defensive back and returned kicks. One of his biggest moments was a game-clinching interception in the final minute of a 47-41 win over Mount Carmel at Soldier Field in 2010. At Eastern Michigan, Reed had started all six games this season as a wide receiver, with 15 catches for 185 yards and a touchdown, according to the school. His family said he was focused on making it to the NFL.
Tribune wire services contributed
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