St. Paul faith leaders call for ‘truce’ between teens connected to violent crimes

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St. Paul police are investigating possible connections between two groups of teens and a recent spree of violent crimes.

In February, 15-year-old Devin Scott was fatally stabbed at Harding High School. Afterward, Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher told KSTP that Scott’s death could be related to the shooting death of 16-year-old Antwan Watson in October.

Six days after Scott’s death, St. Paul Police arrested three teens after occupants of two vehicles were shooting at each other. The call led to a chase and ended with one of the vehicles crashing into a closed restaurant. Investigators say they are looking into a possible a link between Scott and those involved in that crash.

And on Friday, three teenagers were shot after a memorial service for Scott at the Wellstone Recreation Center on the city’s west side.

While connections between those events are under investigation, community leaders are taking steps toward peace by inviting the teens to a meeting this week to create a possible “truce.”

Rev. Darryl Spence, founder of the GOD Squad, told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS he and other community leaders are working to bring the feuding groups of teenagers together for a meeting to hopefully get them to put their guns down.

“Yeah, there is an ongoing feud or whatever you want to call it, but we want to put a plea out to say, ‘Let’s stop, let’s sit down at a table, let’s talk, let’s work this out, get a truce going,’” Spence said.

“That’s what we want to do. I talked to Rev. Jerry McAfee in Minneapolis, he’s coming. He’s bringing his folks. We’re just going to come together. It’s time. It’s time.”

Rev. Runney Patterson, organizer of St. Paul’s 21 Days of Peace, told KSTP he will be part of those talks with a clear message for the rival groups of teens.

“Why do you have to bring up a gun, or why do you have to bring a knife, or any weapon at all?” asked Patterson. “If there is a situation, I always say, ‘Let’s talk it out.’ And, if you can’t talk it out, walk away to see the next day.”