An arrest has been made in the fatal shooting of an unidentified 18-year-old man at a gas station in Detroit on Saturday in an incident officials believe was over a pair of Cartier glasses, which have become the focal point of a rash of violence over the highly sought after fashion item.
According to The Detroit News, the suspect was taken into custody Tuesday afternoon and is believed to be the gunman who attempted to grab eyewear being worn by Lateo Garrett, opened fire on him, then fled — without the glasses. The victim died after being transported to a hospital where he died on Sunday.
A city’s history with Cartier glasses and violence
Shootings over Cartier glasses is nothing new to the city. According to the Detroit Police Department, between 2012 and 2016, Cartier glasses were the result of nine homicides, 17 non-fatal shootings, and 2,158 robberies. The Metro Times, a Detroit alternative newsweekly reported in 2014, in exchange for a watch and Cartier glasses, a man identified as Timothy Jones helped a neighbor dispose of his wife’s corpse. In a 2010 incident, former high school basketball star Darryle Miller was killed when he tried to run from a robber attempting to hold him up for his Cartiers.
The glasses, which retail at $2,650 have long represented status and fashion in Detroit culture. “It was a symbol in the city of ‘I’m seeing some type of success, I’m seeing some type of money,'” Detroit-based rapper Big Sean told The Metro Times. Other items dating back to the 1980s like Cazal glasses, Air Jordan sneakers and other gear can make the wearer feel elevated, particularly in a city with a 40 percent poverty rate, the newspaper said.
Before Garrett’s homicide, the incidents of Cartier-linked fatal shootings seemed to be decreasing and Detroit’s police chief James Craig insists the glasses recently have had no connection to crime.
“Prior to my arrival there may have been some instances where Cartier glasses have been one target of a robbery, but I cannot say definitively to you that they are necessarily an object of attack,” said Craig, who became Detroit’s top cop in 2013.
Meanwhile, Garrett’s mother, who remained anonymous described her son’s final moments to Detroit station WJBK. After he was shot, he lay in his brother’s arms bleeding.
“Lateo was like ‘I’m losing it bro,’ and my son was like ‘I’m here, I’m with you bro I’m just hot.'” said his mother. “I’m on the phone talking to them the whole time.”
Garrett was planning on attending college next year but his mother is now planning his funeral.
“You took a child away,” she said. “You took somebody’s kid for something that you didn’t even get was it worth it?