Wednesday, May 28, 2008

FBI Called In to Help

FBI asked to track down comic book store suspect

KENTWOOD, Mich. (WOOD) - The FBI has been asked by the Kentwood Police Department to help find Jevon Marquis Sawyer, a suspect in the shooting of a comic book store owner April 25.

Authorities believe Sawyer is in a Chicago suburb staying with relatives. Both the Kentwood PD and the Kent County prosecutors office asked the FBI to help capture Sawyer and extradite him back to Michigan. They also want help getting a federal warrant for unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.

The store owner, David Pirkola, was critically wounded in the attack. He has since been released from the hospital.

24 Hour News 8 will continue to follow this story.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Update 5/26

For those who haven't heard Dave is out of the ICU and they have moved him to a Acute Care Facility. He is doing much better, all things considered. He still has a long recovery ahead of him with lots of physical rehabilitation. He is not up for visitors at this point, though we will let you know when he is. He gets tired easily, but is gaining a little more strength every day. The family still requests that limited information is released to the public, though they understand people want to know how he is doing. Keep the good wishes coming.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Quick Thoughts

The rumors are around, so I guess I'll just say it. Dave is awake. Though still in the ICU. He still can't communicate effectively, but is making the small steps every day that brings him closer to recovery. Still no extra visitors, but I will let you know when and IF he would like any or can have some. Also still no flowers or gifts or anything extra for his room, the ICU doesn't allow those types of things. There is a really big poster board at Apparitions that people have been signing and we will bring it to him as soon as we are able. I'm sure he will enjoy all the well wishes from his friends and customers.

Friday, May 9, 2008


We stopped and saw Dave at the hospital tonight after the comic store closed. He really is starting to look like his good old self again. It is still a long road ahead, but today I really feel good about all the progress that Dave has made. It really took a load off my shoulders to see how far he has come in the two weeks that he has been in the hospital. Before we know it he will be back to the store he loves so much.

Thursday, May 8, 2008


Two held, third sought in shooting at comics store
Thursday, May 08, 2008
By Barton Deiters
The Grand Rapids Press
KENTWOOD -- With two men already behind bars, the Kentwood Police Department continues to look for a third suspect in the April 25 shooting at a comic book store.

David Pirkola, the owner of Apparitions Comics and Books, was critically injured by a gunshot fired during an apparent robbery at the store near Woodland Mall.

Two men were arrested within hours following a random traffic stop by another department, but Kentwood police did not disclose the arrests for more than a week.

The suspects are 18-year-old James Muriel-Neal Thompson and 19-year-old Marvin Michael-Marquis Jones. Thompson and Jones remain in the Kent County Jail on $500,000 bond and face a Monday probable-cause hearing in Kentwood District Court.

Despite being shot in the abdomen during the Friday incident, Pirkola was awake and conscious when Kentwood police arrived on the scene at 2757 Ridgemoor Drive SE around 7 p.m., according to a warrant affidavit filed with the Kentwood District Court.

Pirkola provided police with a description of the man he said shot him. Some collectable cards taken from the store were found south of the store, the affidavit showed.

Witnesses in nearby businesses reported seeing three suspicious men leave the store and speed away in a green car. Kentwood Police were able to get some video surveillance recordings from the time of the incident from a nearby store.

One man who fit the description filled out an application for a cellular phone near where the shooting occurred.

The day after the shooting, Grand Rapids police officers pulled over a vehicle at Franklin Street SE and Ionia Avenue. The officer identified Thompson and Jones, who were arrested.

Kentwood police detectives interviewed the two suspects and reported that although both initially denied any involvement in the shooting, they later admitted they were in the store. One of them also admitted the robbery had been planned in advance, though both said the shooting was not part of the plan, according to the affidavit.

"Thompson stated ... that he was standing by the door when this happened," Kentwood Detective William Olenzuk wrote in the warrant application. "He also stated that 'they didn't tell me what they were going to do until afterward.'"

The pair were arraigned April 28 in Kentwood District Court on charges of armed robbery, conspiracy to commit armed robbery and assault with intent to murder. Police Chief Richard Mattice did not release the names until after media inquiries because they were searching for another suspect: 18-year-old Jevon Marquis Sawyer.

"We made several attempts that were fruitless to locate the individual and decided the information could be released," Chief Richard Mattice said Wednesday.

Sawyer and Jones have no criminal history, according to court records, and Thompson has one prior felony drug arrest.

Meanwhile, Pirkola remains in critical condition. Family and store employees have declined to talk about the 56-year-old victim.

But nationwide attention to the case in the comic book community continues. Ron Richards reports on his Web site that more than $5,500 has been raised to help Pirkola with medical costs and other expenses.

Employees and volunteers at Apparitions continue to keep the store open and say they plan to do so until Pirkola can return to his familiar spot behind the counter.

-- Press staff writer John Tunison contributed to this story.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

A Personal Touch

All of Dave's family and friends have been really touched by all the support that has poured in from around the world. The comic community is an odd though close family, and we are all glad to be a part of it.

Dave is making small improvments every day, though he is still in the intensive care unit at the hospital. The nurses are all very impressed by how hard Dave is fighting to come back and join the real world. With the extent of Dave's injurys, it will be quite a while before he is back to normal. When he is able I am sure he will really enjoy looking at all the words of encouragement from close friends and complete strangers.

The family has requested limited release of personal information on Dave's condition and about Dave in general. With someone still out there waiting to be caught, they just don't want to overshare information that may help in everyone being caught and convicted.

5/7/08 Got 2 of 3

Pair jailed in comic store shooting; police withheld disclosure
Posted by The Grand Rapids Press May 07, 2008 09:54AM
Categories: Breaking News

KENTWOOD - Police have arrested two suspects in the shooting of comic book store owner David Pirkola last month, but did not disclose the information for more than a week.
James Muriel-Neal Thompson, 18, and Marvin Michael-Marquis Jones, 19, both of Grand Rapids, have been charged with armed robbery, conspiracy to commit armed robbery and assault with intent to murder.

Court documents show the pair was arrested the next day after a traffic stop by Grand Rapids police.

Pirkola, owner of Apparitions Comics and Books, 2757 Ridgemoor Drive SE, was shot after suspects entered his store April 25. He remained in critical condition today at Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital..

The pair was arraigned April 28 in Kentwood District Court. Kentwood police said they did not release the names until media inquiries because they were searching for another suspect: Jevon Marquis Sawyer, 18.

"If release of the information does not conflict with our investigation we will release it, but it's our call," Police Chief Richard Mattice said this morning. "We won't release it if it conflicts."

He said investigators feared the third suspect would flee if the arrests were publicized, and those concerns outweighed any duty to inform the public of the case's status.

"We made several attempts that were fruitless to locate the individual and decided the information could be released," he said.


Comic book fans rally to wounded store operator
Monday, April 28, 2008By Barton DeitersThe Grand Rapids Press
KENTWOOD -- While a man who runs a local comic book store fights to recover from gunshot wounds sustained in an apparent robbery, fellow comic fans and retailers nationwide are collecting money to help with medical costs and other expenses.

Police say David Pirkola was shot Friday as he worked at Apparitions Comics and Books, 2757 Ridgemoor Drive SE, by a man who entered the store demanding money about 7 p.m.

The robber fled and remains at large, police said. Pirkola, 56, was in critical condition at a local hospital, said friends of the comic book entrepreneur.

"This isn't something you do to get rich," said Peter Ryan, a partner in the Kentwood store as well as another store in Lansing.

He said most comic book store owners are fans who turned their love of the medium into a business, but one that operates with tight margins.

It is a job that rarely comes with health plans, so an Internet site has been set up to collect money to be used for health costs and to help Pirkola keep the store open.

On comic book-related Web sites, word of the robbery has been passed nationwide, and Ronald Richards, of San Francisco, offered to use his comic book Web site,, as a host site for the account set up for Pirkola.

Richards said violent armed robberies are rare for comic book stores; most of the money in such operations is tied up in the inventory.

"For this to happen to a retailer is disturbing," he said. "As you can imagine, no matter how speedy the recovery, getting back to running his business will be challenging."

Relatives were at the hospital and a friend is taking care of Pirkola's cats.


Friend: Comic store owner critically hurt in shooting
Posted by Dave Murray | The Grand Rapids Press April 26, 2008 14:30PM
Categories: Breaking News
KENTWOOD -- Friends of a comic-book store owner shot in an apparent robbery said they can't understand why the shop would be a target.

David Pirkola is in critical but stable condition in a local hospital, said Stephen Jahner, who owns Apparitions Comics and Books with Pirkola.

"People open comic stores because they love comics and are lucky if they can make a living," Jahner said. "It's not like we ever have a lot of cash in the store. It's just unbelievable."

Kentwood police said a man entered the store at 2757 Ridgemoor Drive SE around 7 p.m. and demanded money, shot Pirkola and fled.

Jahner said Saturday he has known Pirkola for decades.

"He's just a sweet guy, one of the nicest people you'll ever meet," he said. "He's the kind of guy you want watching your back."

Jahner, who owns Capital City Collectibles in Lansing, said Pirkola enjoys role-playing games and is well known in comic circles for his devotion to the store.

He said he was informed of the shooting from another Apparitions employee, and together they will try to keep the shop open until Pirkola recovers.

Other Grand Rapids comic store owners said they were shocked to hear about the shooting.

"Comic-book store owners tend to have an affinity for each other," said Kirby Tardy, owner of Tardy's Collector's Corner, 2009 Eastern Ave. SE. "It's a tough business, and it takes a lot of love to keep it going."

Kentwood police said the crime remains under investigation. Anyone with information is asked to contact the department at 698-6580 or Silent Observer at 774-2345.