Highland Park’s Mama Shu saw who killed her son. Why hasn’t anyone been arrested?

Mama Shu puts up billboard pleading for help

HIGHLAND PARK, Mich. – Nearly two years ago, 24-year-old Chinyelu Humphrey was shot and killed in front of his Highland Park home.

His mother, community activist Shamayim Harris, affectionately known as “Mama Shu,” said she saw who killed her son. She saw the killer, illuminated by the snow.

Now, with no arrests made, she is afraid that -- like other killers in her city -- the man who murdered her son is going to get away with it. That’s why she took a dramatic step to try and get her son’s killer off the street.

She put up a billboard. The billboard reads: “My son was killed. I saw who did it. I told the authorities. No arrests. Help me.”

Mama Shu and her son Chinyelu Humphrey. (Mama Shu)

'I heard the gunshots'

Humphrey was killed at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 26, 2021.

He was parked in his car in a grassy lot, facing his mother’s home, and was keeping an eye out for crime. Someone went up to his car and shot him. Humphrey died at the scene.

“I walked outside on the porch after I heard the gunshots and I looked right over there and I saw them running,” Mama Shu said.

Mama Shu said she saw two men by her son’s car. One just stared her down for a couple of seconds and then both men took off running in the dark.

She told Local 4 earlier this year that the lot where her son was killed was not taped off and was not treated as a crime scene. Shell casings were left where he was murdered.

Mama Shu said the point of the billboard is to reach someone, anyone who will help her, because police have not.

“My police report got lost a couple of times. I had to re-submit it, twice,” Mama Shu said. “First Highland Park Police had it.”

Read: Highland Park’s Mama Shu fights for justice after son murdered while protecting neighborhood

‘A place where most murders go unsolved’

Thomas Hargrove with the Murder Accountability Project said Highland Park police are not solving most of their murders.

“It’s a place where most murders go unsolved,” Hargrove said.

The Murder Accountability Project tracks the numbers of cleared or solved murders compared to unsolved murders all over the country -- including in Highland Park.

“In 2021 they reported having 9 homicides and clearing two of them. That’s terrible. In 2020, they reported having 6 homicides and clearing none of them,” Hargrove said.

Highland Park Police (WDIV)

Humphrey murder case turned over to Wayne County prosecutors

One year after Humphrey’s murder, Highland Park handed the case over to Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office.

“And so now it’s down to Wayne County and it’s like no movement. I can’t even get a callback,” Mama Shu said.

“Having a year delay before another department starts investigating is difficult. They do have an eyewitness in the mother, but it’s always more difficult if time has passed,” Hargrove said.

“I can’t sit around this city and not do nothing about it,” Mama Shu said.

She spent $3,000 on the billboard. It will remain up for a month.

“It’ll stay up another month if I need for it to stay up another month,” Mama Shu said.

Local 4 reached out to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office to ask if it is actively working on the case. They did not respond to our email.

According to the Murder Accountability Project, the percentage of murders nationwide that end up solved has been plummeting.

Have a case you’d like us to look into? Reach the Local 4 investigative team at 313-962-9348, or email Karen Drew at kdrew@wdiv.com.

About the Authors:

Karen Drew is the anchor of Local 4 News First at 4, weekdays at 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. She is also an award-winning investigative reporter.

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.