Concerns abound after Minneapolis day care hit by gunfire as kids visited Santa

Neighbors outraged after bullets hit Minneapolis day care during Santa visit

Neighbors outraged after bullets hit Minneapolis day care during Santa visit

A community in north Minneapolis shared concerns Wednesday while recalling the moment gunshots hit a local day care center where kids were meeting with Santa Claus.

It happened at around 5:15 p.m. Tuesday near 34th Avenue North and Penn Avenue North. While investigating, officers found that at least two of the rounds hit the nearby day care, shattering one window and damaging another.

Fortunately, nobody was hurt or even in the room that was damaged. However, there were children there a short time before, which is concerning enough for many.

“I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, they are shooting here,'” Amanda Hollinquest, who was picking up her grandchildren from the day care at the time, told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS.

“It was a scary moment, almost terrifying,” she added.

The incident also rattled neighbors like Bobbie Soward, who was home with her family at the time.

“It’s just heartbreaking,” Soward said.

“I asked him, ‘What was that?'” Soward recalled asking her grandson. “He said, ‘Well grandma, that sounds like gunshots. “I came outside, I saw all the police; it’s terrible, this bad for the neighborhood.”

That’s a sentiment police and residents share.

“It’s incredibly concerning,” Minneapolis Police Chief Brian O’Hara said.

According to the chief, officers were working an enforcement detail in the area due to recent gun crime when it happened.

“This is too much,” he added. “Too many of our kids in this city are living on blocks where the sound of gunfire is regular. It’s just background noise. That’s too much.”

Police say they found shell casings in the alley and also arrested a man for a weapons violation after canvassing the area. Investigators are trying to determine if he’s involved. Police are looking for others possibly involved. 

“That’s idiots coming out with guns carelessly, heartlessly shooting, not caring,” said community activist KG Wilson, whose 6-year-old granddaughter Aniya Allen was killed just a few blocks away in 2021.

“You have to be a monster to do something like that,” Wilson said, adding, “If the police don’t get you, I believe — having the spiritual alley in me — God the most high is coming for you soon.”

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

The day care, New Horizon Academy, sent the following statement to 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS on Wednesday morning:

“At around 5:00 p.m. an isolated incident occurred in our community that impacted our school. There was stray gunfire that led to shattered windows in one of our preschool classrooms on the second floor of our building. There were no children or staff in the classroom at the time of the incident. Fortunately, no one was hurt. Our director immediately alerted authorities. Today, children are safely participating in daily learning activities with their early childhood educators.

“The safety and security of the children in our care and our early childhood educators is our utmost priority. We use the latest in security monitoring technology, including video surveillance of the property and classrooms and secured entrances.”