By Lindsey Seavert, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Hundreds of people braved the cold and crowded into Powderhorn Park in Minneapolis for a candlelight vigil Wednesday night. The “Peace in Powderhorn” candlelight vigil was organized in response to a string of crimes in Powderhorn Park, but the latest sexual assault was the last straw for concerned neighbors.

Four teenage boys are charged with sexually assaulting a mother and attacking her children while they were cross country skiing through the park last Wednesday. Shortly after, police say the boys pulled a gun on two more teenage girls in a nearby garage, sexually assaulting them.

On Nov. 12, a drive by shooting left 12-year-old Guadalupe Hernandez critically injured by a bullet as she was walking with a group of young people near Chicago Avenue and 34th Street.

Concerns flooded a neighborhood forum within a week and the vigil was born.

“We organized this on e-mail and Facebook,” said Jessica Flannigan, a Powderhorn resident who came with her family. “Powderhorn is not Murderhorn. It’s a great place to live.”

Corrine Bruning organized the vigil with one mission in mind.

“To make sure people don’t retreat into their houses, after these senseless acts of violence that keep happening in this neighborhood and surrounding neighborhoods. We want to bring light back to the neighborhood,” said Bruning.

Bruning read a letter from the mother who was attacked, where the mother said she won’t live in fear and plans to continue to use the park. The mother asked the community to show compassion for her attackers.

“At one point, the boys asked for our skis. I wish they could have taken them and used them and experienced the joy from the fresh snow, getting winded from exertion and cool fresh air, please send them all the love you can muster, I think they really need it,” read the letter from the mother.

Gary Hoover is a father who attended the vigil with the same message of compassion. He feels the community has abandoned troubled teens instead of embracing them.

“We need to spend plenty on safety and police, but spend plenty on young people so they don’t become criminals,” said Hoover.

Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak spoke at the vigil and encouraged the community to meet their neighbors and build relationships essential to a safe community.

The effort is far from over.

On Thursday, Dec. 2, the Powderhorn Park Neighborhood Association will host a safety brainstorming forum to discuss ways the community can increase safety through ideas like dog walking groups, park patrols. The public is welcome.

People at the vigil also collected money for Hernandez, who is still in the hospital. Anyone wishing to help can also go to this website.

WCCO-TV’s Lindsey Seavert Reports

Comments (9)
  1. Nate Tg says:

    Its funny that Jessica Flannigan says ” This is Powderhorn, not Murderhorn” because anyone with a small knowledge of history will know how the term Powderhorn resonates.

    These crimes are heinous and I do not in any way condone them but please look up the ” Powderhorn Masscre” of the natives . Soldiers from Fort Snelling killed hundreds of women and children at Powderhorn creek and it is glorified in civic naming of Powderhorn. As there is no direct correlation , there is a sense of irony there and that needs to be addressed as well as the vile crimes that have been committed there.

    Jessica Flannigans statement inspired my comment, perhaps she should understand that Powderhorn IS synonymous with Murderhorn.

    *source- Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee*

  2. Mark from MNtaxwaste says:

    Peace vigil my a$$, we need to put our foot up the a$$ of these people who are committing these crimes. I don’t want to understand them, know why they did it, sit down and really get in touch with my feelings about them. I want them to know we the public will put them away for a very long time. I want these gangs to know we are coming after them with a vengeance like they never saw before. We are kicking down their doors, watching them day and night, just looking for a mistake so we can put them in prison.

    1. Patrick says:

      Normal teen boys do not form packs and attack and rape people. To understand why this happened and where the lives of these boys went wrong is to maybe have a chance to save future victims the same pain. Nipping these lives gone wrong in the bud may also save money in the long run. It’s not free to kick in doors and jail teens for 20 years at a pop. That costs TAX DOLLARS Mr. mntaxwaste.

      1. Mark from MNtaxwaste says:

        @Patrick Well Mr I want to Sing Camps Songs with Rapists. Please by all means sit down and figure this out. It’s cheaper to put them away for longer sentences than to do focus groups. If another gang banger sees what will happen, he might thinks twice, if not send him away. That cr@p didn’t work in the 80’s and it does not work now. Do the math, check and mate. What else you got?

  3. BB says:

    I have to allows pinch myself when I read this type of nonsense.
    First off – if there were 100 there at the peak when RT’s groupies came then I am shocked. Peace and love and doo-doo. Nuts – true nuts and fruitackes. ’tis the season for fruitcakes I guess.
    Build a Peace Wall around Minneapolis – and stay within it if this is the way you want to be. Just PAY for your own issues too —- man…fruitcakes galore

  4. Fed Up With All says:

    It costs me about $155 to get my dogs “fixed” for life.
    Let’s wake up and smell the coffee – both rehab and prison costs to much considering they’ll be back out and likely doing it again.
    FIX ’em

  5. Margot says:

    “spend plenty on young people so they don’t become criminals,” said Hoover.

    As if MONEY is the cure for a life out of control??!! Ugh, 85% of people in prison grew up fatherless. It’s the breakdown of the family!!

    ““To make sure people don’t retreat into their houses, after these senseless acts of violence that keep happening” You mean like any sensible person would do?

    “please send them all the love you can muster” Best love they could be shown is to STOP them from hurting others (and themselves in the process) by removing them from the community.

  6. Peter T says:

    Margot quotes: “To make sure people don’t retreat into their houses, after these senseless acts of violence that keep happening” and then comments: “You mean like any sensible person would do?”

    What might seem sensible for an individual (if even that) would be bad for the community – retreating in to our houses removes eyes and ears from the street and creates suspicion and fear even between people of good will. We don’t want fear to dictate our life, and we don’t want to concede Powderhorn Park to the criminals, but to show them that they are watched and reported, and will be caught.

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