MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Two families are in mourning due to a dangerous problem that’s growing in Minneapolis.

Nicholas Enger, 17 and Vanessa Jensen, 19, were shot and killed just minutes apart early Sunday morning. Stray bullets hit each of them while they were watching street racing in different areas of the city.

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Vanessa had driven down to north Minneapolis from Lindstrom to watch street racing Saturday night, which was happening across the city. WCCO spoke Monday with her mother, Rachel Jensen.

“I received the call just before [2 a.m.] that she had been shot, and I was told she was shot in the arm, and I freaked out,” Rachel said.

As Vanessa was watching cars, someone starting shooting, and somehow she got hit.

“How come you cannot go attend an event and not know if it’s gonna be the last time you will be on this earth because of senseless, cowardly punks that chose to open fire on innocent people that had nothing to do with their confrontations that evening?” Rachel said.

It’s similar to what happened to Nicholas Enger, who was shot by a stray bullet while watching racing across town on East Lake Street. The Minneapolis Police Department tells WCCO street racing has been surging for the past 14 months across the Twin Cities. They say bullets regularly fly at these illegal events.
Rachel is still contemplating what happened.

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Vanessa Jensen (credit: Rachel Jensen)

“I feel like I go in circles. [I] just want the answers to why one night could turn so tragic for somebody that was so loved and would never hurt anybody,” Rachel said.
Travis Jensen is Vanessa’s father.

“Every time in bed you just roll over, you can’t sleep. ‘You’re daughter’s dead.’ That’s what pops in your head,” Travis said.

As they try to absorb the greatest of losses, their hope is that the person took their daughters life has their freedom taken away.

“We don’t have no one to blame, you know,” he said. “It just hurts.”

“They’re at home with their families. They’re closing their eyes at night, and when they are, I pray that they see my daughter’s face and they know they’re not gonna get away with what they have done to my family,” Rachel said.

Wednesday would have been Vanessa’s 20th birthday. Her family will now hold a party in her memory. A GoFundMe account has been set up to help with her funeral expenses.

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Anyone with information in either case is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). Tips may be submitted electronically at www.CrimeStoppersMN.org. All tips are anonymous, and persons providing information leading to an arrest and conviction may be eligible for a financial reward.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield