Seven people were struck by gunfire in St. Paul as the capital city experienced three shootings in under three hours from late Saturday night into Sunday morning.
Miraculously, all seven victims are expected to survive.
Police Chief Todd Axtell and Mayor Melvin Carter joined community leaders for a press conference Sunday afternoon to discuss “the nightmare that played out in our community last night.”
Carter urged anyone with information on the shootings to contact the St. Paul Police Department to help “identify and hold accountable” the perpetrators.
Late Saturday night, two permit-to-carry holders were fired upon on the 500 block of Central Avenue and returned fire. Six vehicles and an elementary school were struck by gunfire and 41 shell casings were recovered in the street.
“One of the rounds went across the freeway on Interstate 94 and struck Rondo Elementary School,” said Axtell.
About two hours later, officers responded to five reports of shots fired at a Holiday gas station on the 600 block of Rice Street. They located three people suffering from gunshot wounds, all of whom are expected to survive.
Responding officers recovered 24 shell casings at the scene.
About 30 minutes later at 2:02 a.m., officers were summoned to the 800 block of Selby Avenue after 36 people called 911 to report shots fired. At this point, the city was already “entirely tied up,” and all officers were “responding to calls at the other two shooting scenes,” Axtell said.
According to a statement from the St. Paul Police Department, officers witnessed about 100 people, who were attending a house party, “running in all directions” when they arrived.
“A hostile crowd prevented them from being able to make their way to four people who’d been shot. Thankfully, all four were able to get to Regions and are expected to survive,” the statement continued.
Axtell said 108 shell casings were located in the street and inside a home, bringing the total number of shell casings recovered across all three scenes to upwards of 150.
“It’s horrific. It’s unacceptable, and we all need to do better,” Axtell said. “I’ve been on this job in St. Paul for 32 years, and I’ve never seen this happen before.”
St. Paul experienced an increase in both violent crimes (up 25%) and property crimes (up 14.9%) last year, which Axtell attributed to the “global pandemic, historic levels of rioting and very real economic pain.”