Michigan mother puts up billboard seeking help in son’s murder case

Francis Akhalbey December 22, 2022
Chinyelu Humphrey, 24, was fatally shot in January 2021 -- Photo Credit: WDIV

A Michigan mother, who is not pleased with the progress of police investigation into the 2021 murder of her son, has put up a billboard seeking information that could lead to the arrest of the victim’s killer. 

According to WDIV, the fatal incident occurred on January 26, 2021, The victim, identified as 24-year-old Chinyelu Humphrey, was in his car when someone approached him and opened fire. The incident happened in front of his home, and he was on the lookout for crime in the area at the time. 

At the time of the fatal shooting, Humphrey’s parked car was facing the home of his mother Shamayim Harris. In an interview with the news outlet, Harris – a community activist popularly known as “Mama Shu” – said she saw the gunman.

But authorities are yet to make any arrests. So fearing that her son’s murder will be another unsolved crime case, Harris put up a billboard asking for help. “My son was killed. I saw who did it. I told the authorities. No arrests. Help me,” the billboard reads.

Harris said she saw two individuals fleeing the scene of the shooting after she heard gunshots and came out of her home. “I walked outside on the porch after I heard the gunshots and I looked right over there and I saw them running,” she said.

Harris recalled seeing two men around Humphrey’s car. She said one of them briefly stared her down before they fled. In an earlier interview, she said authorities did not also tape off the location of the shooting, adding that it was not also handled as a crime scene.

Harris said that the police’s failure to help her was the reason she put up the billboard. “My police report got lost a couple of times. I had to re-submit it, twice,” she said. “First Highland Park Police had it.”

Thomas Hargrove, who is with the Murder Accountability Project, told WDIV that Highland Park police are not getting to the bottom of the majority of their murder cases. “It’s a place where most murders go unsolved,” Hargrove said.

The organization tracks unsolved murders in the United States. It also compares those numbers to that of cleared or solved murders. “In 2021 they [Highland Park police] reported having 9 homicides and clearing two of them. That’s terrible. In 2020, they reported having 6 homicides and clearing none of them,” said Hargrove.

Humphrey’s case was handed to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office by Highland Park a year after he was killed. “And so now it’s down to Wayne County and it’s like no movement. I can’t even get a callback,” Harris said. 

“Having a year delay before another department starts investigating is difficult. They do have an eyewitness in the mother, but it’s always more difficult if time has passed,” she added. “I can’t sit around this city and not do nothing about it.”

The billboard, which cost Harris $3,000, will be up for one month. “It’ll stay up another month if I need for it to stay up another month,” she said.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: December 22, 2022


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