Authorities say they're putting up the largest reward ever in Minnesota, $180,000, in connection with separate shootings that left two children dead and another gravely injured.
The gunfire killed two girls — 9-year-old Trinity Ottoson-Smith and 6-year-old Aniya Allen — and left a boy, 10-year-old Ladavionne Garrett, Jr., gravely injured. All three were believed to be unintentional victims of gunfire in north Minneapolis between April 30 and May 17.
Authorities announced $10,000 rewards in each of the three cases in May. They're now upping that to a total of $180,000, according to the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD). They said it was the largest reward ever offered in the state's Spotlight on Crime program and will include a billboard campaign featuring the rewards.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers of Minnesota at 800-222-8477 or the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension at 877-996-6222.
Sharrie Jennings, Ladavionne’s grandmother, says she is fed up with the gun violence and unsolved crimes.
"It's a shame that we have to sit outside and watch our kids play in order for them to feel safe. It's a shame that we don't feel safe if we are not outside with our kids. That's ridiculous," Jennings said at a media briefing Monday.
No arrests have been made in the cases. Minneapolis police and the BCA hope the reward will bring about information that will help solve the three cases.
Robert Dennistoun, chair of Crime Stoppers of Minnesota, said a system assigning numbers to people offering tips guarantees their anonymity.
“We will take the content of the information and turn it over to [police] to investigate,” Dennistoun explained. “If you want to check on the status of your tip, you access the system again and you tell us you're 2468."
Minneapolis has experienced a rise in violence and property crime in the past year. This increase comes as the Police Department is more than 200 officers, or about 25 percent, below its authorized strength, due mostly to a wave of retirements and disability leaves following George Floyd’s murder and the ensuing unrest.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.
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