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Latest north Minneapolis shooting prompts rally, calls for witnesses

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Farview Park rally
Several dozen people at a rally in North Minneapolis' Farview Park Wednesday prayed for people to come forward with information about the shootings earlier in the week of a 19-year-old pregnant woman, a 17-year-old boy, and a 14-month-old girl.
MPR Photo/Rupa Shenoy

Minneapolis police say investigators have leads in the Tuesday shooting of a toddler, pregnant woman and teenage boy north Minneapolis. As the investigation continues, family, friends and neighbors rallied Wednesday and asked pleaded for people to come forward with information. 

K.G. Wilson was among them, pacing back and forth on a stretch of pavement near where the three young people were shot, yelling into a bullhorn as gospel music poured out of a nearby car on a corner of Farview Park.

"I see people talk about stuff but they don't want to do nothing," the minister and longtime Minneapolis peace activist said. "Now is the time. There's more fathers over in this community. Where they at today? Why are they not standing us with today?"

Despite Wilson's pleading, few from the north Minneapolis neighborhood joined the group, and some of the people in the rally were from outside the community. Wilson lives in south Minneapolis. Crystal resident Johann Lewis and her young daughter held signs that said "Stop the Violence." Cars honked as they passed. 

The 14-month-old toddler was shot in the shoulder, the pregnant woman in her 20s was shot in a leg and the 17-year-old boy also was shot in the leg at about 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday in the 2900 block of Lyndale Avenue North, near Farview Park. Police say a large crowd had been standing outside when a suspect approached, fired shots and fled on foot.

People in the area of Tuesday's shootings regularly hear gunfire. Data published by the Minneapolis Police Department show that as of Aug. 19, there have been 1,671 reports of shots from the department's tracking system and calls from the public in the 4th Precinct. That's down 10 percent from last year, but up nearly 9 percent from 2011.

Samiera Garner is the mother of the pregnant 19-year-old woman who was shot, and says she's lived in the neighborhood for many years and seen

"I've seen a whole lot. It just happened in my backyard this time. I'm not scared to live over here, you know what I'm saying? It's just the north side is getting worse and worse," she said. "We need to come together as one big family and put a hold on this."

"You're not a snitch if you tell," she said. "Don't hold it back -- tell. I mean, you don't have to give your name, you don't have to give your face. Like the police say: Call anonymously" at 612-692-TIPS. 

Minneapolis police Lt. Chris Granger, who works the day shift in the 4th Precinct, said any information provided in a criminal investigation is considered confidential. But phoning the police Tips Line may not be as simple as one call. 

"We really want those people to be able to talk to the investigators in case they have follow up questions or need to understand a piece of information that they've been provided," he said.

Teona Franklin said the shooting came perilously close to her  her infant son, and said she told police everything she can remember about an incident that happened in about 30 seconds.

"Only thing I could think of is, 'Where are the kids, where are the kids, where are the kids?' And when I got up on the porch, I saw that the first boy was shot, and then I saw that my little cousin was shot. And they got to screaming, 'The baby shot, the baby shot, the baby shot.' And I just fell out because I thought it was my baby that was shot," she said.

Franklin says she and her family are moving, fed up with living in a neighborhood where people don't care about shooting at kids.

"If you got problems with somebody, that's OK, but at the same time, you see them babies, you've got to understand, these babies ain't got nothing to do with none of this. Nothing," she said.