St. Paul already has five homicides, including two this past weekend

13% of last year's total homicides have already been reached through the first three weeks of January 2022 alone.

St. Paul police respond to a January homicide on the 40 block of Lyton Place. (St. Paul Police Department/Twitter)

After setting a new city record in 2021, St. Paul’s homicide rate shows no signs of slowing down in 2022.

In fact, it may be speeding up.

St. Paul’s fifth homicide of the year happened early Sunday morning, Jan. 23, when a 66-year-old woman was found beaten to death at a residence. She was identified as Linda M. Johnson by the St. Paul Police Department.

Police arrested one man at the scene, the victim’s husband, after a “quick” determination that he was the suspect. Arvid Harry Johnson, 66, is now sitting in the Ramsey County Jail on suspicion of murder, according to a city news release.

Because St. Paul saw 38 homicides in 2021, that means 13% of last year’s total homicides have already been reached through the first three weeks of January 2022 alone.

The city’s fourth homicide of the year happened just 24 hours prior to the fifth. In that incident, a gunshot rang out following an argument at a residence in St. Paul’s North End. One woman, identified by St. Paul police as 31-year-old Latifa T. Brown, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Two men were found at the residence and taken in for questioning, though the St. Paul PD reported Saturday morning that 35-year-old Antonio Bell Jr. has been booked into the Ramsey County Jail on suspicion of homicide.

The city of Minneapolis saw its first homicide of 2022 on Jan. 8, when officers found Angelo Roch Morehead, 23, in the street with a gunshot wound. He was transported to the Hennepin County Medical Center, where he was eventually pronounced dead.

Officers had responded to reports of shots fired and a vehicle that crashed into parked cars in the 4200 block of 11th Avenue South when they found Morehead.

The homicide rate climbed to three on Jan. 20 when two were injured and one was killed in a drive-by shooting in the city’s Cedar-Riverside neighborhood.

Former Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek blasted Gov. Tim Walz for his “apathetic” tone on Twin Cities crime in a statement earlier this month.

“Leadership comes from the top. In a recent interview, the governor had an apathetic answer on how to deal with crime spikes, stating, ‘local policing is a local issue,’ not exactly an answer victims of crimes will find comforting. The time is now. We need more from our leaders at the state and local level,” he said.


Evan Stambaugh

Evan Stambaugh is a freelance writer who had previously been a sports blogger. He has a BA in theology and an MA in philosophy.