St. Paul community, business owners concerned over safety following bar shooting

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Hundreds of people gathered on Raspberry Island in St. Paul Monday night to remember the victims of Sunday’s deadly shooting at Seventh Street Truck Park bar.

The group lit candles to honor 27-year-old Marquisha Wiley, who died, and those who were hurt.

Two men—Terry Brown, 33, of St. Paul, and Devondre Phillips, 29, of Las Vegas—have been charged in connection with the shooting. Brown faces one count of second-degree murder and 11 attempted murder charges. Phillips faces 12 counts of attempted murder.

Both were expected to make their first court appearances Tuesday morning. The court ultimately delayed Brown’s appearance because he was in the hospital as of Tuesday morning.

Brown and Phillips are each being held on $10 million bond.

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS talked with a man who says he escaped the gunfire only to turn around and go back in for a friend.

"I just texted, I just said, ‘The bar that we’re at in St. Paul is getting shot up. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I love you guys. Most of my friends are OK. We’re going back in,’" Jackson Wille said.

Wille made it out with his friend and helped one of the surviving victims.

The shooting is the latest example of a violent year in the Twin Cities.

For businesses in the community, it means more problems in an already difficult time.

Business owners along West Seventh Street say they’re trying to keep their staff and customers safe, and they say their concerns are falling on deaf ears.

"It seems like the rule of law has gotten lost," Brian Ingram, owner of Hope Breakfast Bar, said. "We don’t want to hear about a coalition, what you’re going to do two years from, three years from now; we want to hear what you are going to do today."

Hope Breakfast Bar is just a couple of blocks from Seventh Street Truck Park bar, where the shooting happened. Ingram said he helped start the business six years ago and knows many of the employees.

When he heard the news, he said his heart sank, and he immediately thought of the team he used to lead.

He and his wife used to live above Hope Breakfast Bar, but Ingram said they moved because he said crime became so bad.

Business owners in the area are asking community leaders to step up. They’re calling for more officers in the area.

Police Chief Todd Axtell said police are increasing patrols, but he says another part of the problem is getting guns off the street, and he says they need community support for that.

"I know there have been people who have been arrested in this case who aren’t legally allowed to carry a gun; at some point, we need to draw that line to ensure accountability so that future victims don’t have to go through the same thing in the future and the victims’ families don’t have to endure this pain," Axtell said.

Business owners in the area say something needs to be done now and not later. They say they want to ensure safety for their staff and customers and they said city leaders need to come together to find solutions.