ST. PAUL — St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter is envisioning bringing a supplemental budget proposal to the City Council to “focus on public safety from a comprehensive level.”
Carter made the announcement Monday, Oct. 21, a day after a teen and a man were wounded in a shooting near Allianz Field in St. Paul while a Minnesota United playoff game was underway. They were among six people injured in shootings since Friday afternoon in St. Paul.
“If you compare St. Paul with ... comparable cities around the country ... we are a safe city, but we’ll never be safe enough,” Carter said at a Monday press conference at City Hall. “One shot fired is too many. One life lost in St. Paul is too many.”
What do the numbers say about gun violence?
- 132 people have been wounded or killed by gunfire in St. Paul so far this year; as of mid-October last year, there had been 112.
- There have been 24 homicides in St. Paul this year, 22 of which have involved guns. Eight of St. Paul’s homicides happened in September.
- St. Paul has seen an average of about 16 homicides a year since 1999, according to FBI data. The most during that span was 24 in 2005, the least was eight in 2011,
Carter said there are people who think St. Paul is on pace for a record-high year, but he said that happened when he was in junior high school in the city in the early 1990s. St. Paul documented the most homicides in 1992 with 34, according to the police department.
“Preventing our streets from getting back to that place is going to require the type of comprehensive plan that we’re in the process of building right now,” Carter said Monday.
Specifics up in the air
The mayor said neighbors, business leaders and police officers tell him their public safety concerns are centered in three areas: Homelessness, young people “who are disengaged and … who have nothing to do in the summertime or after school,” and the impacts of drug abuse and mental health in the community.
For a supplemental budget, Carter said he’s “open to anything that can address those things” directly. He said he doesn’t have an exact cost in mind because a Nov. 5 referendum on organized trash collection “will have a large impact on the budget situation.”
It’s unclear exactly what happens if “No” votes prevail, but the mayor has said $27 million in costs would be shifted over to property taxes, increasing the tax levy accordingly.
City Council President Amy Brendmoen said Monday that she’s been in communication with Carter “for the better part of the year about more global solutions to the underlying causes of gun violence.” The Council could look at some of those ideas for the 2020 budget, if the trash referendum passes and there is flexibility with the tax levy, Brendmoen said.
Police: Shoot-out Sunday not random
The Sunday night shooting happened in a parking lot behind a laundromat at Pascal Street and University Avenue, about a block from the soccer stadium as 20,000 people were settling in for the game. Police said it was a shoot-out and did not appear random.
Paramedics took two people to Regions Hospital and they are expected to survive, said Steve Linders, a St. Paul police spokesman. A 16-year-old was shot in the abdomen and back, and a 24-year-old was grazed in the head by a bullet and shot in the arm, according to Linders.
Police said a male is in custody in connection to the shooting and a handgun was recovered at the scene.
Four injured in three other shootings
Linders said he didn’t have information about whether any of the weekend shootings are connected to each other. Each of the people were treated for injuries that weren't life-threatening, according to police.
- On Friday at 4:40 p.m., officers responded to a report of an assault and were told a 17-year-old male was walking from a store on Edgerton Street near Maryland Avenue when a car pulled up and someone shot him in the lower back.
- Later Friday, at 11:50 p.m., a 29-year-old man was shot outside Johnny Baby’s bar at University Avenue and Chatsworth Street, Linders said. He was wounded in the abdomen. About 30 minutes later, a 29-year-old woman who had been grazed by a bullet in the stomach in the incident walked into Regions.
- Then, on Saturday at 5 p.m., a 20-year-old man arrived at Regions Hospital after being shot. He said he and his girlfriend were walking in the area of Hague Avenue and Syndicate Street when he felt a sharp pain in his abdomen, Linders said. His father took him to the hospital.
Police said no one has been arrested in the shootings from Friday and Saturday.
The weekend before, there were reports of shots fired in St. Paul, but no reports of injuries.
In the first weekend of October, 23-year-old man Jeriko Boykin Sr. was fatally shot and his 4-year-old son was wounded on St. Paul’s West Side.