Reporting Reg Chapman
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Violence erupted in downtown Minneapolis early Monday morning, sending four people to area hospitals.
Two people were shot, and two others were stabbed in incidents that do not appear to be related.
According to police, the overnight violence came right after bar closing, when more than a thousand young people were in the street after an 18-and-up concert by rapper Rich Homie Quan at the Epic Entertainment Events Center at 110 N. 5th St.
The first shooting took place outside Sex World, in the 200 block of 2nd Avenue North around 2:15 in the morning. A 23-year-old woman was shot in the leg.
Five minutes later and two blocks away, a man was stabbed in the back while in the middle of the street in the 400 block of 1st Avenue North.
Twenty minutes after the stabbing, a man was shot in the arm inside the lobby of Parking Ramp B, right next to Target Field.
Minutes later, a juvenile was stabbed while riding his bike on the sidewalk near 5th street and Hennepin Avenue South.
Minneapolis Downtown Council‘s Interim CEO Betsy Buckley says there is a lot of money and energy invested in downtown, and people should feel safe when exploring all it has to offer.
“We want downtown to be compelling and vibrant,” Buckley said. “We have some amazing safety programs that are first of their kind in the country, a powerful Minneapolis Police Department. And my encouragement is that if you see something that isn’t right, pick up the phone and call their tip line.”
From the Downtown Improvement District workers, to the eyes and ears of people who enjoy the area, Buckley says it takes everyone to keep the area safe.
“We got to keep our antenna up as we’re committed to in terms of having a focus on safety,” Buckley said.
Steve Baker, manager of Cowboy Jack’s, now closes at 1 a.m. to avoid the 2 a.m. crowds.
“Most of the problems in downtown happen on Sunday nights,” Baker said.
He says Sundays are typically the time when Minneapolis clubs open to the 18-and-older crowd.
Rob Sowada, manager of Brothers Bar and Grill, says ever since clubs began their Sunday night promotions for teens, crime has escalated. Brothers now closes at 8 p.m. Sunday evening, and Sowada says they’re losing thousands of dollars as a result.
“It’s only happening on Sunday nights.It’s not happening on Friday and Saturday nights, and it’s driving people away from downtown,” Sowada said.
He says four years ago, Sunday nights were a big hit with the service industry crowd.
“People that work in the bar industry and restaurant industry go out on Sundays,” he said. “They don’t come downtown anymore because they know that it’s going to be an issue.”
Sowada and other bar owners and managers have taken their concerns to the city. Sowada is also proposing a stricter curfew to teens in downtown.
“Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights – there’s no reason for an 18-year-old person to be downtown,” he said. “There’s no reason for 16-plus clubs. They’re pointless in my opinion.”
It’s unclear if those involved in the shootings and stabbings attended the show at the Epic. No one has been arrested in connection to the violence.
Minneapolis Police are adding extra patrols on Sunday nights to deal with the increased crowds.
The Downtown Council and Warehouse Business Association are working closely with police to develop a plan they hope will address the violence.