City taking action against Logan Square owners after shooting


The city of Lansing is preparing a suit to declare Logan Square Shopping Center a “nuisance property” in the wake of an early Sunday morning shooting incident that left five people injured.

That could lead to having the trouble shopping center placed in receivership in order to force improvements, City Attorney Jim Smiertka said Tuesday.

Smiertka confirmed his office is compiling law enforcement reports related to criminal activity in the 30-acre shopping center in preparation for filing the suit in 30th Circuit Court against California-based owners Mike and Kevin Zhang.

The suit will seek a plan “to prevent these things from happening,” Smiertka said in a phone interview.

Such an order would not prevent existing businesses, which include a grocery store, a laundromat, a beauty supply store and a thrift business, from operating.

Criminal activities at Logan Square include a June 2021 shooting, a 2022 raid to seize illegal gambling equipment, illegal after-hours clubs, and the raid and shuttering of a dress shop in the center for being a front for heroin distribution in 2021. The shooting Saturday was just the most recent criminal outburst in the shopping center.

On Monday, LPD reported that three of the people shot remained in the hospital, with two of them in critical but stable condition. The ages of those shot ranged from 16 to 26.

Smiertka said that he believes there is enough proven criminal activity to get a court order against the owners.

He said the city could also seek a receivership for the property. That legal move would take the responsibility of renting shop fronts and units away from the landlord or managers. It could also force significant improvements on the property in order to improve the occupancy rate in the shopping center.

“I believe we have enough information to ask for and get a receiver,” Smiertka said.

The shooting stemmed from a large concert event hosted by the Energy Event Center and produced by Sillyboy Productions and 517 Productions. Rapper BabyFxce E was performing at the event. His online videos promoting his work include frequent verbal and physical references to shooting people. His most recent video for “Charge it to the Game” went live just days before the concert. It starts with images of a man with a semiautomatic rifle being shown off to the camera. Throughout the video there are images of people holding guns, a moment when the performer “shoots” the screen with his finger and images of unpacking large quantities of marijuana.

Energy Event Center owner Ryan Scott Cabell did not respond to messages via Facebook or phone.

City officials confirmed the Lansing Fire Department was aware of the event. But because it was occurring at a licensed cabaret, officials thought there would be no concerns or issues.

“These guys are in their videos glorifying gun violence and everything else,” said City Council member Adam Hussain, whose Third Ward includes Logan Shopping Center. “So, you got to kind of anticipate that there might be some of (that)and guard against” it on the scene.

Smiertka said the City Council has the ability to hold a hearing and revoke the cabaret permit for the event center. He said the license and ordinance require owners to keep things orderly and prevent violations of the law both within a venue and outside.

Hussain said he would support a revocation of the cabaret license.

The shopping plaza has been a thorn in the side of the city for more than a decade as different owners have attempted to revamp it and bring in new businesses. The city at one point attempted to purchase the property, but it could not justify the price tag. As part of economic development, the city recently created and funded the S. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard Corridor Improvement Authority. The group is working to help property owners leverage resources to rebuild and reimagine the MLK corridor from the railroad tracks near Victor Street on the north to Interstate 96 on the south. Logan Square was one of the first properties tackled, with the Zhangs kicking in $15,000 to have consultants provide ideas on improving the shopping center.

Hussain said he heard the shots Saturday night from his home near the corner of Pleasant Grove and Holmes roads. He went to the shopping center and saw all the police presence — which included officers from multiple jurisdictions — and a large, unruly crowd, he said.

He said he has been raising concerns for months about the lack of action by the Zhangs to prevent illegal businesses or events from getting out of control. He said he supports Smiertka’s move to seek a court order against the shopping center.

“I think they’re motivated, which I appreciate,” he said of the Office of the City Attorney. “The problem is this was avoidable. We have five people that have been shot. That’s not OK.”


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