By David Schuman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — St. Paul Police say that three people are dead in a shooting that happened Saturday afternoon, and they’re looking for the person or people responsible.

The shooting happened at about 3 p.m. on the 700 block of Jessie Street, near Edgerton and Minnehaha Avenue.

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Two were pronounced dead at the scene, and a third person died after being taken to the hospital. The third victim was described by authorities as a boy between the ages of 8 and 12. Another victim was a teenage girl.

“These are horrific calls for officers to respond to,” said Sgt. Mike Ernster of SPPD. “Obviously the families are in a lot of pain, and the officers are human too. When they respond and see this kind of tragedy it affects them also.”

Homicide detectives are working to learn who’s responsible for these deaths, as is the department’s forensics team.

An hour before the victims were discovered, Ernster says an officer had been to the house and spoken to the woman who later died. A family member of hers in Tennessee had called police and asked for someone to check in.

“She looked at him and said, ‘I am O.K. Tell them I’m O.K.,'” Ernster said.

In a statement on his Facebook page, Chief Todd Axtell said:

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Our hearts are broken tonight.

As you’ve probably heard, your police officers and firefighters responded to a call for help on the East Side and walked into a hellish scene. Three people shot. Two deceased, one rushed to the hospital where he later passed away.

Tonight, we grieve—as police officers, as human beings, as members of the community.

But I also want you all to know that your guardians are out there right now looking for the person who inflicted so much unthinkable pain on the victims, their loved ones, and the entire city.

As police officers, homicides affect us most deeply. They feel personal, especially when children are involved. So, we hug our loved ones a little longer, tell them we love them an extra time, put on our uniforms and head into work. And we hope that we can help our city begin to heal.

Maybe the first step is finding the person who pulled the trigger? We hope so, because right now that’s all we can think to do.

Moments like this are hard and painful. But maybe you can take a small sense of comfort knowing that your officers are working as hard as they can—like they always do—for the victims, for their family and for you.

Right now, it’s all I can think to say.

Nicholas Bakke, a neighbor who lives a block over from the shooting, says he’s sadly not surprised this happened, since he says it’s common to hear gunshots in the area.

“It’s a really scary thing to know what’s going on over here,” Bakke said. “It’s a terrible thing. School’s coming in a couple days, we’re about to bring our kids on the bus, it’s an uneasy feeling.”

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Ernster says this makes six homicides in St. Paul so far this year.

David Schuman