By Reg Chapman

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Gun violence in St. Paul has landed a liquor store clerk in the hospital.

Police say a shoplifter pulled a gun on him and shot him Sunday afternoon.

The owner of Park Liquors said in his 30 years of being a part of this community, he has never had anything like this happen.

St. Paul police say they were called to the store on Snelling Avenue North just before 4 p.m. on reports of a shooting. They arrived to find a man in his 20s shot twice in the stomach. He was taken to the hospital and is in stable condition.

“An employee of the liquor store saw someone shoplifting and confronted the man outside the liquor store, and that employee was shot in the abdomen,” said Sgt. Natalie Davis.

The store owner, who did not want to go on camera, told WCCO the victim was his nephew, and he was shot by a shoplifter over a six-pack of beer.

(credit: CBS)

“We have not made any arrests,” Davis said.

The first month of 2022 is shaping up to be a violent one for the capitol city.

“So far this year we’ve had 28 robberies,” Davis said. “That’s too many. That’s more than one a day.”

The number of robberies is actually down from this time a year ago, when there 38 robberies in St. Paul in the month of January. Police believe it’s going to take teamwork with community partners to get a grip on this explosion of crime.

“We need the community’s help. That means if you’re a parent or a family member, brother, sister and you know that your loved one is getting into things they shouldn’t do, or you know that they have a firearm, call us,” Davis said.

Owners of Park Liquors are thankful for customers and neighbors who are dropping by, offering prayers and purchasing something to keep this family-run business going.

If you have any information about the shooting at Park Liquor, or any of the robberies, call police.

Reg Chapman