STATE OF OPPORTUNITY. Can Kids in Michigan Get Ahead?
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Shots rang out. Three kids were in the line of fire. One woman saved them.

Dustin Dwyer

  Last month, a disagreement on a residential street in Muskegon turned into a massive gun battle. Six men were armed. Dozens of shots sprayed in all directions.  

At the house directly behind the gunfight, three children played on a porch.

And one woman ran into the line of fire to try to save them.

Today we begin a three-part series about the incident, and look at how the dramatic rise of gun crimes in Muskegon is putting more kids at risk.

The series begins with what happened on Monroe Ave. on the evening of July 9th

It wasn’t quite yet dinnertime.

Ten year old Brooklyn Ridge was walking her dog Scruffy up to the front porch of a white wooden house on Monroe. Her friends Cameron and Caiden were there. Her brother was inside.

Behind her in the street, a group of men were fighting. The fight got worse.

"They started off as punching and screaming," Ridge says. "Then it ended up as a gun battle."

Heather Tanner, Cameron and Caiden’s mom, was inside the house.

I asked Tanner what was the first thing that caught her attention.

"A bullet coming into my mattress, through the walls of the house."

Brooklyn’s parents, Jim and Shannon Ridge, were in their second floor apartment around the corner when they first heard the shots.  

Before they could even get down the steps of their apartment, dozens of shots had been fired.

"It was basically a war zone," Jim Ridge says. "That's how many rounds went off."

"It was basically a war zone," Jim Ridge says. "That's how many rounds went off."  

Twenty-seven year old Carmesha Rogers was on a balcony directly above the kids when the guns came out.

The gunmen were in the street, right in front of the house. The kids were 30 feet away, at most.

Rogers tried to yell at them, to tell them to get inside.

They didn’t move.

So Rogers ran down the stairs, putting herself in the line of fire.

"She pushed us all inside," says Brooklyn. "She said, 'Hurry up kids, get in the house' then she started pushing us in." 

Bullets zipped past.

One of the boys says his hand was grazed by a bullet.

Brooklyn says she didn't know who had been hit, who was hurt. She worried that all the kids were hurt. 

But they weren’t. The kids were all safe. Every one of them.

Carmesha Rogers was not.

After she pushed the kids inside the house, a bullet hit Rogers above her above her right ear. The bullet went into the back of her skull, through her brain and stopped just behind her right eyebrow.

Rogers was on the floor when Heather Tanner came out of her room.  

"And then that’s when I saw Meesha, laying there," Tanner says. "And then I just started screaming because I didn’t know what else to do. I was shocked. I thought she was dead."

Rogers’ sister performed CPR. Paramedics arrived and rushed Rogers to the hospital. She was unconscious, but alive. 

One person died as a result of the gunfight. A man named Alex Brown, who was involved in the shooting.

The kids are all alive, with no physical injuries. There are still psychological scars. Heather Tanner has been in counseling, along with her two sons.

Shannon Ridge is still trying to figure out how to get counseling for Brooklyn. Shannon says the family recently lost their insurance. There are services in Muskegon for families in their situation, but the Ridges have had no help navigating that system. And Brooklyn still hasn’t talked to a counselor.  

"She’s the one that we worry about the most," Shannon says.

Brooklyn says she’d rather not talk about the gunfight, or even think about it, ever again.

Tomorrow, the story of Carmesha Rogers. She took a bullet trying to protect kids from a gunfight outside her house. All of the kids' parents call her a hero.