Leaders, Community Members In St. Paul ‘Stand United’ Against Gun Violence

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — The mayor and police chief in St. Paul Friday stood side by side with members of the community to speak out against gun violence.

So far this year 54 people have been shot in the city of St. Paul, that’s an average of one person shot every other day.

Police are looking to the community for help to end this surge in shootings.

In St. Paul, officers respond to an average of three reports of shots fired every day.

Officials say there is no way to police your way out of this situation, that’s why the city is looking to its community partners to help.

“We stand united as a community to say enough violence, enough hurting, enough killing,” said St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman.

At the intersection where a young man lost his life to gun violence, city, state and county leaders along with police and community stood unified in the fight against an uptick in shootings.

“Year to date compared to last year we are up 75 percent in shots fired reports throughout the city,” said Chief Todd Axtell.

St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell says seven of the nine homicides this year were gunshot victims.

“We have re-aligned our resources within the St. Paul Police Department. We’re taking an all hands on deck approach to this very, very serious issue,” Axtell said.

Members of the community say police should not shoulder the responsibility of stopping the gun violence alone.

African American Leadership Council Chair Tyrone Terrell had a message for members of the black community.

“Our village is under attack by our young people, but it’s not their fault. Nobody is born with a pistol in their hand, so until we take our responsibility as so called leaders and community people to talk to our young people, both men and women, to remove the guns and the level of violence in our community this will continue,” said Tyron Terrell.

Terrell and other community leaders say it is time for the community to step up..

“We got to find how the guns continue to come into our community. We have to bring the resources and the jobs and the opportunities back into our community and as a community we have to take some leadership here,” said State Rep. Rena Moran.

“A parent cannot stand silent if they think that their child is getting into trouble, if they think that their child might have a gun, parents need to know this and they need to take action,” Coleman said.

Mayor Coleman says community partners like the God Squad, NAACP and Black Ministerial Alliance are willing to help parents who believe their child may have a gun or be involved in gun violence.

Coleman wants parents and guardians to call for help before it’s too late.

More from Reg Chapman
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