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‘Tragic and senseless’ late-night gunfire in Minneapolis kills 1, wounds 11

Police car lights. (Alexandru Cuznetov/Dreamstime/TNS)

Gunmen unleashed a torrent of gunfire in a crowded block early Sunday in Minneapolis’ Uptown area, killing one person and wounding 11 others in one of the city’s most violent shootings in recent memory.

Police said the 11 survivors were scattered at area hospitals with “various severity levels of injuries.” They said the victim who died was a man, but gave no other identifying details. All of the victims were adults.

Nor did they offer a motive for the gunfire, which apparently involved people shooting each other.

Late Sunday morning, Police Chief Medaria Arradondo called the mayhem “tragic and senseless violence.”

Arradondo said he’s been in touch with FBI officials in the Twin Cities for assistance in curtailing the surge in gunfire around the city. He also said help from state agencies is needed.

The chief had no word on any arrests being made or what may have been behind the gunfire. He did rule out that the death of George Floyd late last month while in police custody is not connected to Sunday morning’s violence.

A Police Department spokesman said that police revised their victim tally throughout the night — from eight to 10 and finally, 12 — as victims were dropped off at hospitals.

The violence began about 12:37 a.m. Sunday, when police responded to reports of gunfire during a large gathering of people in the 2900 block of Hennepin Avenue, according to police spokesman John Elder. He said officers arrived to find multiple victims and learned that others had left the scene in “private vehicles.”

Several ambulances were summoned to the scene to care for the wounded. He said that detectives had been assigned to investigate the case, but no arrests had been made as of Sunday morning.

A Facebook Live video posted by K.G. Wilson, a longtime peace activist, showed the shooting’s chaotic aftermath, with bystanders tending to several victims sitting on a curb in the popular entertainment district on the city’s South Side. The scene was awash in flashing blue and red lights. At one point in the footage, a police officer and a bystander are seen carrying an injured person to a waiting ambulance.

Hours after the shooting, the scene was mostly clear. A man and woman sat together, somberly flipping through their phones. A group of employees and security guards from Hoban Korean BBQ huddled outside of the restaurant, sweeping up shattered glass from two shot-out windows. .

He said the area, known for its bars and boisterous nightlife, had been bustling the past few nights as several after-hours spots reopened their doors after months of being under a COVID-19 lockdown. Hennepin Avenue had been partly blocked off to accommodate the large crowds. Patrons from the Pourhouse Uptown, a nearby bar, recalled diving to the floor when the shooting began, not knowing where the gunshots were coming from.

Hours after the shooting Sunday, Alyssa Tyson was pacing nervously outside HCMC while her 23-year-old daughter, Taija, was inside for treatment after being shot twice. One bullet had ripped through her leg, striking her femur bone, while another had grazed her arm, according to her mother.

Alyssa Tyson said that her daughter, who works as a personal care assistant, had gone down to Uptown with a male companion, who had also been shot, with a bullet passing close to his spine.

Tyson said she had been fast asleep, after celebrating her birthday the day before, when her son called to say that Taija had been shot, she said. Moments later, another concerned call came, and then another. After throwing on some clothes, she raced down to the downtown hospital from her suburban home, she said.

“The young lady who was with my daughter said it was, like, 80 shots,” she said.

She said she was shocked to hear how many people were shot.

“I’m just pretty much speechless,” she said. “That’s a lot of people’s lives that are about to be changed, and for one person, that’s no more Christmases, no more birthdays.”

The shooting was one of several across the city since Saturday afternoon — in all, 19 people have been struck by gunfire in that span, police say.

The incidents continued rash of gun violence since the unrest over the police killing of George Floyd last month, with more than 90 people shot in Minneapolis since May 26.

Criminologists have noted similar patterns in other cities — most recently Baltimore, which saw violent crime rise in the wake of a controversial police killing — offering a variety of possible explanations, from eroded police legitimacy to officers pulling back on their duties because of the intense public backlash over Floyd’s death.

After a homicide earlier in the week, Elder, the MPD spokesman, scoffed at the suggestion that officers were showing less initiative.

“That is categorically false,” he said. “Our officers are still responding to calls, they are still addressing calls, and the fact that anybody would think that there is a stand-down order or some sort of work stoppage, that is patently false.”

He said the surge in shootings coincided with the start of the crime-heavy summer months.

Sunday’s mass shooting was one of the most violent in recent city history. Earlier this month, seven people were shot, one fatally, when a brawl in a north Minneapolis bar spilled outside and then escalated into gunfire.

In 2014, nine people were shot inside the since-shuttered 400 Soundbar nightclub in downtown. One of the victims, a 27-year-old man, later died in a crime that remains officially unsolved. Two years later, seven people were injured and one was killed when someone sprayed gunfire on a North Side block where a gang vigil was taking place.

In the city’s deadliest mass shooting, a gunman burst into Accent Signage Systems in 2012 and fatally shot six people, before turning the gun on himself.


©2020 Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

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