Shooting of 2 teen victims in St. Paul prompts community meeting to combat gun violence |

Shooting of 2 teen victims in St. Paul prompts community meeting to combat gun violence

Richard Reeve
Updated: May 21, 2021 11:24 PM
Created: May 21, 2021 11:22 PM

A double shooting outside St. Paul’s Frogtown Community Center that wounded two teen boys prompted an urgent virtual meeting among city and community leaders Friday.

"We have seen an obviously alarming amount of gunfire, violence in our communities,” Mayor Melvin Carter said. “We've endured just too much."

"I think people are kind of already on edge and just afraid,” a woman attending the meeting added. “And, of course, what happened in Minneapolis with the kids has put people on edge.”

During the past few weeks, police say they’ve seen an uptick in violence in the metro, including the shootings of three children, one of them deadly. 

On Thursday, around 8:30 p.m., officers called to the Frogtown Commmunity Center found a 14-year-old boy shot in the leg and foot. A second boy, 16 years old, turned up at the hospital, wounded in the leg. The injuries are considered non-life-threatening. 

Police called the victims uncooperative but didn’t say whether they were targeted. 

“Incidents like this and those we've heard about recently in Minneapolis are scary,” St. Paul Police Commander Jeremy Ellison said. “We all need to come together as a community to find solutions.”

Ellison said investigators have determined there were actually two people shooting two different guns. Officers Thursday said they weren’t able to locate any suspects but found five casings and an extended gun magazine at the scene.

The community center was not open at the time. 

St. Paul police say the 12 homicides so far this year is the same as this time last year, but authorities say the number of people shot has risen from 44 to 63. 

Fourteen of the victims, including the two injured Thursday, were between 7 and 17 years old. 

Among the ideas discussed in Friday's meeting were more community outreach and youth counseling.  

“We were able to connect with both mothers of the shooting victims,” said Mike Campbell with the counseling group Healing Streets. “We were able to offer them resources and help and support. Their first thought was for their children.” 

Meanwhile, police say they’re putting more officers on the streets. 

"We are immediately putting more resources out there,” Ellison said. “Our officers are stopping by the rec centers, and we are doing trips by there.”  

In contrast to the shutdown last summer, the city says all rec centers will return to full programs by June 21. The idea is to give young people resources and a place to go. 

"Anytime in this park, from 2 p.m. into the evening, it's packed,” a park official said during the meeting. “Every amenity is being used, from the basketball court to the turf field to the playing area." 

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