Community activists search for answers after violent year in Minnesota

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St. Paul set a new record with 38 homicides in a single year.

Minneapolis police reported 95 homicides, falling just shy of the 1995 record of 97.

In a year marked by violence, the local group 21 Days of Peace is still working toward the goal it’s named after.

While 2021 never went 21 days without violence, they said, members aren’t giving up hope.

On Friday, 21 Days of Peace members set up shop outside a downtown Minneapolis Target store. The eight-month-old organization is trying to connect with troubled youth and take back the community.

The group formed shortly after a shooting in April where three children were caught in the crossfire of rival gangs. Two — Aniya Allen and Trinity Ottoson-Smith — died from their injuries.

Shootouts weren’t uncommon in 2021, and their regularity was responsible for a large chunk of the homicides in Minneapolis.

The Minneapolis Police Department says about half of those cases remain open and unsolved.

St. Paul saw one of the most violent shootings of the year at the Truck Park bar on West Seventh Street, just blocks from the Xcel Energy Center.

A crowd of people was once again caught in the middle of a shootout. One person, 27-year-old Marquisha Wiley, died and 14 others were injured.

But 21 Days of Peace is hopeful that it will reach and exceed its goal for safety and community connection.

"I think 2022 — we’re going to get off to a great start," a member said.