Community organizes rally in St. Paul after surge in gun violence
Dozens of residents and city officials gathered in a restaurant parking lot Sunday to denounce gun violence and demand more action to stop it after a surge in shootings St. Paul.
The rally occurred a few blocks from where an 18-year-old was shot and killed last week.
“Until we step up and say no more gun violence in the city of St. Paul, it’s gonna continue,” said Dora Jones-Robinson, founder and director of St. Paul nonprofit Mentoring Young Adults. “Every time you see somebody that looks like they about to do something, call somebody. Tell somebody.”
More than 100 people have been hurt or killed by gunfire this year, according to police, including three homicides in the span of nine hours last week. A 15-year-old was charged in juvenile court with one count of second degree murder in connection with a killing at a Rice Street store last Monday afternoon. Prosecutors also charged a Roseville man in connection with another shooting that killed a good Samaritan who tried to help at the scene of a multi-vehicle crash Monday night. In the third shooting, a man was killed by gunfire from a passing car on University Avenue near the State Capitol.
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St. Paul resident Darlene Walsh said shootings leave lasting mental trauma in children who witness the violence. Her 12-year-old grandson’s parents don’t let him stay at her house as often as he used to after he witnessed a shooting in front of her house, she said.
“I don't get him on the weekends. I don't hardly see him, because they're afraid because of where we live,” Walsh said. “This is ridiculous. It needs to stop.”
Along with extra police patrols and investigators, the city announced a federally funded initiative last week that will help police track and prosecute gun crimes.
But Jones-Robinson said not just city officials are responsible for the city’s safety.
“We will have no gun violence, nobody dead in 2020 on our watch,” Jones-Robinson said. “This is not just the responsibility of the police and the mayor and the sheriff’s office — this is our responsibility, if you live and work in this city.”