While victims of shootings at a fireworks festival fought to survive, Detroit battled to limit damage to the city's fragile image as a crime center, says the Detroit News. Two people remained in critical condition a day after nine were shot Wednesday by a pistol-waving man near Hart Plaza. Police last night were holding a suspect in an incident that stoked Metro Detroiters' long-simmering fears and helped resurrect the city’s violent reputation. “The location, the timing could not have been worse,” said an angry U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Collins.
Just a week earlier, Detroit was lauded for a virtually crime-free victory celebration and parade for the Detroit Pistons. But on a night when representatives of the NFL Super Bowl committee were in town assessing Detroit's preparedness for the 2006 game, and when officials from New York and Chicago were here analyzing ratings for pension bonds the city wants to issue, Detroit's past sins came back to haunt it. “Bad imagery is like Velcro: Everything attaches to it,” said Michael Bernacchi, a marketing professor at the University of Detroit Mercy. City officials went into a furious damage control mode. Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick had a press conference at at 6 a.m., straining to put as positive a spin as possible on the tragedy. “More than 1 million people were downtown,” he said. “It was one of the best fireworks displays in this country. Unfortunately, one idiot, one ignorant person, decided to do something stupid.”