This story was originally posted at 4:29 a.m.
One person died and at least 14 others were injured after gunfire broke out early Sunday in a bar along West Seventh Street in St. Paul, leaving what authorities described as a "hellish" scene with victims inside the building and out on the street.
The St. Paul Police Department reported just before noon Sunday that three men — ages 29, 32 and 33 — had been arrested in connection with the shooting, and were among those being treated for injuries.
St. Paul police spokesperson Steve Linders said earlier Sunday that officers encountered a chaotic scene just after midnight when they arrived at the Seventh Street Truck Park bar and food hall, just west of the Xcel Energy Center.
“There were gunshot wound victims lying in the street outside the bar, there were gunshot wound victims lying on the sidewalk outside the bar and there were gunshot wound victims lying on the floor inside the bar,” he said during a news conference several hours after the shooting.
A woman in her 20s died at the scene, Linders said.
"One minute she's having a good time, the next minute she's lying in her friends' arms who are trying to save her life. And she didn't make it. I can't think of anything worse,” he said.
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Fourteen people were transported to area hospitals and are expected to survive their injuries, Linders said. That includes the three suspects arrested later Sunday.
“They're in custody and in the hospital, being treated for injuries suffered during the incident,” police reported at midday Sunday. “Once they're discharged, all three will be booked into the Ramsey (County) Jail and await a charging decision.”
There were so many people hurt by the gunfire, Linders said, that more than a half-dozen of them had to be taken to Hennepin Healthcare in Minneapolis, in addition to the victims taken to hospitals in St. Paul. Linders said other agencies — including Metro Transit police, the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office and Maplewood police — handled some 911 calls in the city because so many St. Paul officers had to respond to the shooting.
The name of the woman who died has not been released.
“This is nothing short of a tragedy,” Linders said. “We had people in the city of St. Paul, out on a Saturday night, having a good time. And we had other people who decided to pull guns with reckless disregard for human life, and pull the trigger over and over and over and over again. And it ended in tragedy. Our hearts break for the young woman who died and for her loved ones. And for everybody who was in that bar.”
In the aftermath of the shooting, police investigators could be seen standing at the doorway of the Seventh Street Truck Park, and apparently examining vehicles outside for bullet damage or other evidence. At least one vehicle was towed from in front of the business.
Police officers were posted outside the emergency department entrances at both Regions and United hospitals, with multiple police vehicles lined up at the sidewalks outside of each facility.
Speaking later in the day, St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter thanked those who helped the victims of the shooting, and he lauded the quick work by police.
"We are, of course, heartened to see arrests made in the case. But we know our entire city is going to be listening closely as we demand many, many more answers for what occurred last night, for the heartbreak and trauma that played out across our community."
Carter said the city had recently dedicated $1 million in federal money to police overtime — with a focus on the West Seventh area. But he said an increase in gun violence requires wider-ranging solutions, including community-based responders and intervenors.
"We know that we have more work to do. We know that our officers cannot do it alone," he said. "I'm blessed to live in and serve a city where people look out for one another, we have to continue to do that work on the street level, on the neighborhood level, ensuring that if you see something, say something."
Response from city and state leaders
St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell posted on Twitter that "hearts are broken — victims, families, community and officers. I spoke with the homicide victim’s family this morning and they are absolutely devastated. I am incredibly proud of the exhausted women and men of the SPPD. We WILL bring justice to the victims."
U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum also issued a statement Sunday, writing that "the epidemic of gun violence plaguing the Twin Cities has hit us in St. Paul with a mass shooting event that can only be described as a horror. I know our St. Paul community will come together to support the victims and their families during this time of pain and grief. My prayers are with the victims. I also want to pledge my full support to the St. Paul Police and all our law enforcement officials as they pursue the perpetrators of this horrendous crime. I am committed to keeping St. Paul safe and that means working with all community leaders to get guns off our streets and out of the hands of criminals. We must never allow this kind of criminal act to happen again.”
U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar tweeted that "what happened last night in St. Paul was an appalling tragedy. A life lost and 14 people injured because of senseless gun violence. Our hearts are with the family and friends of the victims and the St. Paul community. This must be a call to action."
And Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz tweeted: “Horrific. Minnesota is keeping in our hearts the family of the young woman killed and the 14 others injured, and the St. Paul neighborhood reeling from this senseless gun violence. We’re working in close coordination with local law enforcement as they apprehend those responsible.”