POSTED: Tuesday, August 24, 2010 - 9:40am
UPDATED: Thursday, August 26, 2010 - 8:46am
Victims of Flint serial stabber and NAACP leaders question police actions during killing spree.
Local leaders and police found themselves trying to answer tough questions before an emotional and frustrated crowd at a forum set up by the Flint, Michigan branch of the NAACP on Monday.
"I want to know why Flint police never came and talked to me that night," said 17-year-old stabbing victim Etwan Wilson at a podium set up before a panel of local leaders. "Never."
Wilson says he was walking in Flint on August 1st when a man asked him for directions.
After he tried to help the man, Wilson says the man jumped at him and stabbed him.
The stabbing sliced through his heart, liver, and diaphragm.
The teen, who is about to enter his senior year of high school, is one of 18 people police believe one man attacked in Virginia, Ohio and Michigan.
Fourteen of the victims were attacked in Genesee County between May and August.
Five of those victims died.
Flint Police Chief Alvern Lock told Wilson investigators spoke with him as soon as they realized a serial killer may have attacked him and formed a task force to investigate.
"The task force wasn't formed until the seventh," he responded. "I was stabbed on the first."
"Yes, but we have a policy," said Chief Lock. "We can't talk to you right after you come out of surgery."
Wilson says he helped investigators create the sketch of the serial killer, but was never questioned in detail after that.
Exchanges got personal as members of the audience voiced frustration with the answers given by the panel.
"I don't understand how you can act like you're this big shot police officer," said one audience member to Lock after Lock defended his detectives, saying they have handled 40,000 complaints this year, and notified the public of the potential danger when they noticed the pattern. "People are dying."
"You think I don't care, but I do care. I got nephews who walk the streets at night," said Lock raising his voice. "And you think it didn't bother me that one of them might end up dead? I do everything I can do and make sure I do it by the book, so that when he (Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton) gets it, it is a conviction."
Wilson says there is no excuse.
He says if police questioned victims of violent crimes right away they might be more likely to notice the pattern of a serial killer and have the opportunity to warn the public sooner.
"I feel it was really messed up," says Wilson. "They destroyed a lot of people's lives."