St. Paul Launches Antiviolence Plan After Deaths

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After three fatal street shootings that took place so fast even top police officials expressed shock, St. Paul’s police chief announced a five-step plan to combat violence — starting with plenty of extra hours required of the city’s investigators, reports the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “What happened in the span of nine hours yesterday and into this morning was unlike anything, anything — and I mean anything — that I have seen in my entire 30 years” on the force, said Chief Todd Axtell. “It was shocking, it was outrageous, and it was an anomaly.” Killed were a good Samaritan, an 18-year-old and a man driven to the hospital in a bullet-riddled car. Calling the shootings “unusual and unacceptable,” St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter said that “putting an end to these cycles of violence is our highest priority.”

Carter said he would support not only investments in the city’s police department, but “work to ensure safe, productive activities for our youth and opportunities for our families to make a living. … (and) to continue the discussion at the state Capitol about why it seems so easy for the wrong people to get their hands on a gun.” Axtell said he would deploy additional patrols by calling back to work officers who would otherwise be off, and beefing up homicide and gang investigations with a task force made up of investigators from different units. “This is a full department mobilization and it does not come without a cost,” he said, adding that employees are “already working around the clock.” The fatal shootings started Monday when an 18-year-old man was shot while walking down a busy street in broad daylight. At 10 p.m. a good Samaritan heard a car crash near his home, went to see if he could help and lost his life.

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