MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — People in St. Paul are pleading for change after more than 150 bullets were fired and seven people were shot in three separate shootings Saturday night and Sunday morning.
The first shooting occurred just after 11:30 p.m. Saturday on the 500 block of Central Avenue. Two men in their mid-20s told police three other men approached them and started shooting. The two men, who police said had valid permits to carry, fired back. No one was injured, but a bullet hit an elementary school and several vehicles were hit.READ MORE: In Sartell, Beloved 'Grandpa Kevin' Is Sharing Life Lessons To Elementary School Students
Shortly after 1:30 a.m. Sunday, officers heard gunfire in the area of Rice Street and Pennsylvania Avenue. They found multiple gunshot victims at a Holiday gas station on the 600 block of Rice Street. Two victims were taken to Regions Hospital by ambulance and a third was transported there in a private vehicle. All three are expected to survive.
At about 2 a.m. Sunday on the 800 block of Selby Avenue, someone started shooting at a house party of about 100 people. Four people with gunshots wounds — a 33-year-old woman, a 38-year-old woman, a 24-year-old man and another victim — showed up at a hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
There have been no arrests in any of the three shootings, according to police. Four of the seven shooting victims were women. All are expected to live.
Ross Callahan heard one of the shootings from his bedroom in the Central Village neighborhood.
“It just went on for a good 30 to 40 seconds of multiple gunshots ringing out,” Callahan said.
He says shootings are becoming more frequent, and he’s considering moving his family.
Mayor Melvin Carter, Police Chief Todd Axtell and community leaders gathered Sunday to discuss solutions to the violence.READ MORE: Despite Warm Temps, Cold Water Poses Hypothermia Risk At Minnesota Lakes Over Memorial Day Weekend
“Not just addressing symptoms, but seek long-term generational solutions to address the cycles that have impacted our neighborhood for generations,” Carter said.
Mayor Carter says we all are responsible for ending the violence, including him, but adds a mayor can’t wave a magic wand. His words weren’t good enough for activist Dora Jones-Robinson of Guns Down St. Paul.
“We need an aggressive leader with an aggressive message, and I do not believe [Carter] can deliver that,” Jones-Robinson said.
WCCO asked Chief Axtell if more officers would help stem the violence.
“It’s a holistic issue what we’re dealing with right now,” Axtell said. “It’s not just more officers. It’s not just technology.”
Axtell says he has 587 sworn officers right now, which is down from this time last year, but he said he didn’t know by how much. St. Paul’s website says the department has 620 sworn officers.
Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher also weighed in Sunday, saying there aren’t enough officers in St. Paul to proactively patrol and prevent crime. He blames the mayor.
“He has a fine 20-year plan, but he doesn’t have a four-month plan to get us through this summer,” Fletcher said.MORE NEWS: MPD's New 3rd Precinct Inspector Working To Rebuild Trust: 'We Need The Community More Than Ever'
Carter says a police academy is coming on board for this summer and hiring more officers is “on the table.” He also says money from the American Rescue Plan will be invested in alternative police responses and improving neighborhood livability.