‘Devastating’ shooting rattles northwest Lansing neighborhood

New homeowner says he’s worried about safety


TUESDAY, Oct. 10 — Since 1975, Dudley Pete has lived near the 1100 block of North Jenison Avenue in northwest Lansing, where voting activist Ted Lawson was fatally shot on Sunday afternoon.

“It’s kind of devastating, to be honest with you,” Pete, 72, said. “It was right in the neighborhood, somebody important, and we don’t even know why. We’re all concerned.”

Like many of his neighbors, Pete said he was home when the shooting happened at around 3 p.m. Sunday.

“I had the door open, and I was sitting right here looking at the football game,” he said. “I heard the ambulance and the police and I looked out to see the ambulance was already taking the guy off.”

Lawson, 63, was out canvassing for Trini Lopez Pehlivanoglu, an at-large candidate for Lansing City Council, when he was shot in front of Kathy Hunt’s home at 1143 N. Jenison Ave. He died in the hospital.

“It happened right there,” Hunt said, pointing to the corner of her front lawn. “I was home at the time, and I didn’t hear a thing. I didn’t even know the fire trucks came up here.”

Hunt added that she wasn’t concerned with safety in the neighborhood before, and that she isn’t now.

“It doesn’t really bother me, because I don’t think that I’d be a target,” she said, adding that she owns a gun for personal protection. Does she think Lawson ever thought he would be a target? “Probably.”

Police arrested a 15-year-old youth today in the shooting.

Multiple neighbors who were interviewed today said three individuals were involved.

Another neighbor, who asked that his name not be published, has lived at his house, just a few down from the crime scene, for over 40 years.

“I heard something, but it didn’t sound like a shot,” he said. “There’s somebody back over this way that shoots firecrackers off all the time, and I’ll tell you that if that sound was a person getting shot, it was a lot quieter than the firecrackers two blocks away. I can’t even guess as to what kind of weapon that was.”

Like Pete, by the time the man looked outside, the area had already been evacuated. “They must’ve done a pretty good job getting to him quick,” he said.

Matt Hignite, 34, moved into his house near the scene of the shooting about a year ago. He was home at the time of the incident and also said he didn’t hear anything happening outside.

“I wasn’t worried about safety when I moved in, but I am now,” he said.

“My house, the one across the street, and the ones on either side, we all bought our houses in the last year and a half. We’re all kind of new to the neighborhood and it seems pretty safe. I haven’t seen anything sketchy. No concerns whatsoever. Then, all of a sudden, there’s a shooting,” Hignite said. “I don’t even know how to feel about this. Is this part of being in the city, is this part of my neighborhood, or is this a fluke? I don’t know, it’s a weird feeling.”

Both Pete and Hignite described the neighborhood as “mixed” and “quiet.”

“I think it used to be a lot more families, and then after 2008 it became a lot more rentals. Now I think it’s moving back towards more owners,” Hignite explained. “This was a rental for 10 years or so before I bought it. It’s 90-some years old. Thick walls, too, which is why I probably didn’t hear anything.”

“This is supposed to be a peaceful neighborhood. But, we’re all very sad right now,” Pete said.

“The people that live here are mostly older people, too. It’s not really a young generation," he added. "Whoever these guys were, I don’t really think they’re neighborhood kids. If they are, they’re somebody who just recently came to this neighborhood."

Pete said he’s spoken with several of his neighbors about ways they could prevent something like this from happening again.

“There’s a lot of talk between us,” he said. “A lot of people I’ve talked to said they were going to make sure make sure their security cameras are recording at all times. When this happened, the one at my door wasn’t charged. I’m going to make sure it is from now on.”

“The scariest part of it all is the idea that it would happen in our neighborhood,” Pete said. “This is a nice neighborhood, a quiet neighborhood where everybody’s trying to get along with everybody.”

Pete and two neighbors who asked not to be named said they hoped to see a strong police response to the incident. Before the shooting, they said the number of police patrolling the area seemed minimal.

Lawson was a member of Ingham County's Board of Canvassers and was serving as the secretary of Ingham County’s Democratic  Party when he died. He lived near the scene of the shooting, which was Lansing’s ninth homicide of the year.

“To me, the whole thing is: why would you just shoot somebody?” Pete said. “We need to find those answers.”

Ted Lawson, shooting, Jenison Avenue, Lansing, canvassing, Trini Lopez Pehlivanoglu, politics, youth, shooter, house, neighborhood, Dudley Pete,


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