ST. PAUL -- After recent shootings in St. Paul, African-American community members had a message Tuesday: “Turn yourself in.”
Two people were fatally shot in St. Paul last week and others injured in shootings, including three outside a bar Saturday night. A 19-year-old has been charged with murder in one of the cases and police said the others remain under investigation.
And, in the hours after Tuesday’s news conference, another young person was injured in a St. Paul shooting. A male, believed to be a juvenile, was shot in the arm in the area of Rice and Atwater streets about 1:55 p.m., a police spokesman said. No one was immediately arrested.
As of Tuesday morning, 98 people had been shot in St. Paul this year, eight of them fatally, according to police. Community leaders on Tuesday noted that 73 percent of the victims have been black.
The violence has “a lot to do with egos,” said Greg Jackson Sr., co-founder of Down For The Cause.
“Those that are involved need to man up,” he said. “It’s easy to hide in the shadows and in the dark, but enough is enough. We can’t keep senselessly killing one another and think that it’s OK. I have young sons in this community. I have a number of people’s lives who I’m directly involved with, and I’m tired of tossing and turning, wondering when I’m going to get the call. … If you’re aware of what’s going on and you do nothing about it … you’re part of the problem.”
Recent shootings spurred Tuesday’s public plea from community leaders and Ramsey County Commissioner Toni Carter. Metro Transit Police Chief John Harrington, Ramsey County Sheriff Jack Serier, St. Paul Deputy Police Chief of Major Crimes Paul Iovino and others stood with them at the Hallie Q. Brown Community Center.
On the afternoon of Aug. 12, Devan Goode was killed down the street from Harding High School. As people played a dice game in St. Paul, a man approached, pointed a gun at them and demanded money, according to a criminal complaint charging a 19-year-old with murder. He then allegedly shot and killed Goode, 21.
Later on Aug. 12, two men were hospitalized after being shot in the area of Edmund Avenue and Milton Street.
Robert Molin Jr., 26, died Thursday afternoon, after he was shot near the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension headquarters. Molin’s cousin has said he was trying to protect his younger brother. Police have not announced arrests in his killing. The family is raising money for Molin’s funeral at gofundme.com/robert-molins-funeral-expenses.
On Saturday night, three people were shot and injured in the area of Willard’s Liquors at Thomas Avenue and Grotto Street.
Iovino said gun violence statistics had been trending downward this year, compared with last year, “for a lot of different reasons and mitigation efforts we have in place.”
But August “has really been a difficult month for us in terms of gun violence,” Iovino said Tuesday afternoon. “We saw a dramatic increase. … Some are truly isolated incidents and, in other cases, investigators are looking to see if there are threads of relation.”
The Rev. Runney Patterson Sr. said “one of the saddest things” is officiating over so many funerals of young African-American men. Patterson, senior pastor at New Hope Baptist Church, estimates there have been 25 such funerals in his 14 years there.
A member of the St. Paul Black Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, Patterson said he and others have been out in the community at all hours over the years, trying “to get our fellow brothers and sisters … to come to the table, to try to let go of some of this nonsense and this madness I believe that may be taking place between the groups.”
Tyrone Terrill, president of the African American Leadership Council, said people who don’t feel comfortable turning themselves in to police can call the hotline for the Men of M.A.R.C.H., which stands for Men Are Responsible to Cultivate Hope, at 612-872-4997 at any time.
“We will have brothers come to get your son and take him to be turned in peacefully and without being harmed, but the most important thing is for our community to allow healing, to allow peace and to allow an opportunity to deal with this level of violence,” Terrill said. “And it’s just not on these individuals, but our community as a whole. … Our village has failed these young men and, in some cases, young women.”
People can also call the St. Paul NAACP at 651-500-8754 for assistance with turning themselves in, said Dianne Binns, the group’s president.
“As a mother, a grandmother and a great-grandmother, I am really concerned about these shootings that are happening in my community,” she said. “… I would love to see all our children grow up to be young productive men and women, and they can’t do that if they don’t have a safe environment to be in.”