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Video: Gunfire interrupts St. Louis mayor’s press conference about gun violence

Police car lights (Wikimedia/Matty Ring)
November 02, 2021

Gunfire rang out on Friday in right as St. Louis Mayor Tashaura Jones was in the middle of speaking during a press conference. Jones was specifically speaking on the issue of gun violence as the shots rang out.

Video from the incident showed Jones was in the middle of speaking when several shots rang out in the background. Jones was momentarily distracted by the gunfire and said, “Well isn’t that wonderful.”

After the nearby shooting ceased, Jones returned to speaking for the gathered press.

“I didn’t flinch,” Jones said of the gunshots, KSDK reported. “I hear gunshots in my neighborhood every night.”

“My son and I fall asleep to the lullaby of gunshots in the distance every night because I’m the first mayor in over 20 years to be born, raised and still live in north St. Louis,” Jones added.

Jones had been hosting Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas for a joint press conference on the issue of gun violence.

KMOV4 reported Lucas was visiting as part of a two-day meeting to discuss how the two cities can share lessons learned on how to address a number of issues affecting both of their cities, including gun violence. The joint meeting was also attended by community groups, advocates and a Department of Justice official who joined virtually.

“We were there to have a community conversation about gun violence and the proliferation of guns in our community and what we can do differently to get guns off our street and help families who are traumatized by this,” Jones said in an interview with the Washington Post on Saturday. “And it just so happens that someone decided to shoot in the distance.”

St. Louis Police officers responded to the gunfire but spokeswoman Evita Caldwell told the Washington Post that officers found no victims or witnesses.

Following the incident, Jones tweeted, “This shouldn’t be normal! We shouldn’t become desensitized to hearing gunshots in the distance,” Jones wrote. “I showed this to my son and he thought people were shooting at me!”

Lucas also tweeted, “The sound of gunshots is a regular occurrence in too many areas of my city as well; something I grew to know from youth. Today’s shots reminded us of the reality so many of our sisters, brothers, and babies face each day and the need for change.”

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported 2020 saw the highest homicide rate since 1970, with 262 murders. The city’s 2020 homicide rate was 30 percent higher than it was in 1993 when the city saw the previous highest homicide rate since 1970.