MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Two people died in St. Paul Saturday night in two separate shootings that were about 10 minutes apart and roughly two and a half miles away from each other.

A 22-year-old and a 24-year-old are in custody facing potential murder charges.

The first happened at a gas station in the 1100 block of Maryland Avenue East. The second near Highway 61 and Burns Avenue. Police say they do not believe the two shootings are related.

“It’s very unusual,” said Sgt. Mike Ernster, a public information officer for the St. Paul Police Department

At 9:15 Friday night, officers were called to a shooting at a gas station on the 1100 block of Maryland Avenue East.

“When officers arrived they located a male victim down inside the store. St. Paul fire and paramedics also responded and pronounced him dead on scene,” Ernster said.

Investigators were able to locate and arrest a suspect not long after, after gathering witness statements and evidence at the scene.

Roughly 10 minutes later there was a second deadly shooting after a car crash near Highway 61 and Burns Avenue.

“They pulled over onto Burns Avenue just west of Highway 61. Both drivers got out of their vehicles and argued and one of the drivers shot the other driver,” Ernster said.

The victim, later identified as 39-year-old Douglas C. Lewis of St. Paul, was taken to Regions Hospital where he later died. The alleged shooter, a 24-year-old Watertown, Minnesota man, is currently in custody.

Homicide detectives continue to canvass the area, and search for any potential witnesses.

“Them bullets could easily go through the front door or the wall or the window of my mother’s house over there in that neighborhood,” said Dora Jones-Robinson, an activist with Guns Down St. Paul.

Jones-Robinson said the stay-at-home order is not curbing violence and could in fact be contributing to some of it.

“I’m devastated by this news and the sad part about it is it’s not going to get any better, it’s going to get worse cause these young people are sitting in the house they ain’t got nothing to do,” Jones-Robinson said.

“There are more people galvanized to addressing this violence than there are people actually committing it,” Ernster said.

“I’m scared for the summer and what we’re about to be looking at,” Jones-Robinson said.

Jones-Robinson, who normally does outreach work in St. Paul hoping to get to the root of gun violence issues, says it is tough to do that work at a safe distance right now.

But she says understanding why people pull the trigger is the only way to fix the issue.

“All we can do is just stay hopeful stay prayed up and hopefully it’ll get better but I think when it comes to this gun violence I think it’s going to get worse before it gets better,” Jones-Robsinson said.

The Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office is currently working to identify the two victims and their exact causes of death. Authorities say they expect to identify the victims on Monday, after their family members have been notified of their deaths.

Friday’s murders were the 10th and 11th of the year in St. Paul.

St. Paul police tell us they have not seen a dramatic increase in shootings during the stay-at-home order.

Erin Hassanzadeh

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