Downing faces 17 charges after shooting Ferris student

Downing
Downing

BIG RAPIDS — It was business as usual on Monday at Ferris State University, as police and students were relieved that the man who shot a Ferris student was in custody.

DeCory DeMarco Downing, 20, of Macomb County, was arraigned on 17 charges for the shooting of Andre Powell early Saturday morning at Venlo Place Apartments.

Downing is charged with assault with the intent to murder, felony firearm and attempted murder along with fourteen other crimes.

Downing was arrested, after a daylong manhunt, at the Finch Court apartment complex a little before midnight on Saturday.

Police allege Downing shot Andre Powell in the parking lot of the Venlo Place after an altercation between the two. A motive in the shooting is not known at this time.

Powell was shot in the arm and the bullet entered his abdomen. He was treated and released at Spectrum Health Butterworth Campus in Grand Rapids.

Former Ferris student Shaionna Brown, 18, of Mount Clemens, also was charged on Monday as an accessory to the shooting along with two other crimes.

A third woman in the apartment where Downing was found was not arrested.

The .380 handgun that Downing allegedly used was recovered in a vehicle belonging to the Brown.

“We believe this is the gun used in the shooting,” Borkovich said.

Downing has an “extensive criminal record,” said Bruce Borkovich, director of Ferris Department of Public Safety.

A motive in the shooting is still unknown. Investigators are trying to determine what brought the two men together in the Venlo Place parking lot.

Earlier reports show there was a party nearby, but Borkovich said it's not clear whether both men were at the party or even knew each other.

“We’re not quite sure about the details,” Borkivich said. “It appears there was party going on and some type of altercation took place in the parking lot of the apartment complex.”

Downing is not a Ferris State student and has no apparent ties to the area, Borkovich said.

The Big Rapids Department of Public Safety, the Mecosta County Sheriff’s Department, the Michigan State Police Emergency Support Tactical Team and a BearCat vehicle from the Grand Rapids Police Department aided Ferris DPS officers in the apprehension of Downing.

Shootings in Big Rapids are "very rare," he said.

"This is a nice community; a safe place," he said. "Unfortunately, this behavior shows up everywhere. No place is immune to it."

The ordeal began approximately at 4:15 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 1, when police were called to Venlo Place about shots being fired. A vehicle belonging to Brown was seen fleeing the area.

Police located Brown’s vehicle at the Finch Court apartment complex on Ferris’ west side. Police locked down the campus. All Saturday activities were cancelled or suspended during the manhunt, said Ferris News Services and Social Media Manager Sandy Gholston.

The vehicle was searched and the handgun was found. About mid-day Saturday, tracking dogs were used to lead officers to two apartments. The apartments were searched, but officers found nothing.

Nearly four hours passed before police received credible information about the location Downing on Saturday.

At approximately 6 p.m. on Saturday police again surrounded the Finch Court complex. Students living in apartments were evacuated to safe locations until the Downing was in custody, Borkovich said.

During the standoff, police asked students in residence halls and apartments near Finch Court to remain inside, while attempts were made to communicate with the people in the apartment.

“We started with announcements trying to get occupants out of the apartment,” Borkovich said.

Eventually Brown and another unidentified woman exited the apartment. Brown was taken into custody and the other woman was moved to safety. When police entered the apartment, officers found and arrested Downing in the upstairs area of the Finch Court apartment.

Downing and Brown are scheduled for a preliminary hearing at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday Feb. 11 in Mecosta County’s 77th District Court.

Downing remains in jail on a $2 million bond, and Brown remains in jail on a $250,000 bond.