MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – After a violent and deadly weekend in downtown, Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau said the department will take an aggressive approach to stopping the problem.

Five people were shot between two separate shootings this weekend in the Warehouse District. Three people were injured early Saturday morning on 3rd Street North and 1st Avenue.

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Early Sunday morning, one person died and another was injured after a shooting in the 300 block of 3rd Avenue.

Just steps away from the light rail in downtown’s Warehouse District, people quickly find several bars, restaurants, and shops. But that’s not all it’s suddenly known for after this weekend.

“We hate being the home of the first homicide of 2017,” said Joanne Kaufman, executive director of the Warehouse District Business Association.

Not only is the popular nightlife spot home to Minneapolis’ first homicide of the year, but two shootings in two nights, both happening around the time when bars and clubs are closing.

“This cannot continue to happen. We have employers, employees who are afraid to be here. We have customers who are afraid to be here,” she said.

Police said both incidents started as arguments that escalated. They said the shooters specifically targeted the victims however those same victims aren’t cooperating with police.

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V.J. Smith is national president of Mad Dads, an organization that puts positive role models in troubled communities. He said stopping the “code of silence” is just as important as stopping the violence.

“I think it’s time for the community to say what they know and do something about it, and call these people out because they’re killers,” he said.

In an email to the city leaders, Kaufman outlined her concerns about the two shootings while also citing several others that have happened in the Warehouse District over past 18 months.

Chief Harteau said going forward, more uniformed and undercover officers will patrol the district. Kaufman was excited to hear that, but worries it won’t be enough in stopping the crime problem.

“We have these wonderful amenities (in the Warehouse District) but people don’t feel safe 24 hours a day and they should,” she said. “We need a bigger reaction.”

Kaufman said she hopes the shootings won’t scare people from visiting the district but admits it might happen. Several bar and restaurant owners WCCO talked with off camera felt the same way.

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In her statement, Chief Harteau said, “In both incidents, MPD Officers were working in the immediate area and responded within seconds. It is clear there continues to be an issue with violent people, often chronic offenders, who have access to weapons and use them without regard to police presence. I am concerned about the lack of adequate consequences and the increasing number of repeat offenders who continue to be the driving force behind our violent crime.”

Jeff Wagner