Police secure condemned apartment building weeks after triple murder

Posted at 10:43 PM, Mar 16, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-17 06:14:56-04

HIGHLAND PARK, Mich. (WXYZ) — Highland Park police stepped in Thursday to secure an abandoned apartment building where three men were found murdered.

Armani Kelly, Dante Wicker and Montoya Givens vanished before a rap performance at Lounge 31 in Detroit. Their disappearance made national headlines.

They went missing on Jan. 21. Their bodies turned up on the night of Feb. 2 inside an abandoned apartment building in Highland Park located at 2025 W. McNichols Road.

Police are now taking action because of a story we aired Wednesday about one of the victim's mothers, Lorrie Kemp, wanting the structure torn down.

Highland Park police cut the power to the building and forced out squatters and animals living inside.

They secured certain entrances, but there are still ways to get in.

It's unclear how long the animals and people have been taking shelter there but according to Highland Park Police, the building is condemned and should be vacant.

"While going through the building, we found about a dozen stoves that were running that were being used as a heat source," Highland Park Police Department Interim Chief James McMahon said.

Kelly's mom thinks more could've been done prior to prevent the deaths.

"If someone would have taken head to that building, maybe they wouldn't have been dead there," said Lorrie Kemp, Kelly's mom.

She says part of finding justice for his son is getting the building torn down.

"Demolish it. Nobody is using it. It's worthless, rat infested, three bodies," Kemp said. "Doesn't that mean something to Detroit or Michiganders."

In 2010, the property was owned by Ace Investment Group. A person with the company says they filed an insurance claim over a fire and a series of thefts.

The insurance agency allegedly never paid up and he says the city forced all residents out, leaving it vacant.

He says the bank took it over.

Public records show a Liberty Bank associated with the property back in 2012.

7 Action News called the city twice to verify the claims but did not hear back.

McMahon did confirm the building, along with two others on the block, were privately owned.

"We have to be respectful to the owner's rights," McMahon said. "We had to go through a process to make sure the buildings were condemned."

The most recent utility bill has been sent to Friedman Management Company. The former owners of the building claim Friedman was hired by a bank to maintain and operate the property.

We put a call into their office during business hours and are still waiting to hear back.

"It's more than meets the eye. It's bigger than we all know. And you know what, it is all going to come out unraveling," Kemp said.

McMahon says they are limited in what they can do and ultimately, the owners are responsible for boarding up the building in its entirety.

"We are sympathetic to the events that occurred here. We are going to do the best we can while also being respectful to the owners as well," McMahon said.

Mahon says the city's ordinance officer is working with the owners of the building to get it completely secured, so no one can get in.