6 wounded during night of gunfire in Minneapolis

  • Article by: ROCHELLE OLSON and SARAH LEMAGIE , Star Tribune staff writers
  • Updated: May 30, 2011 - 10:08 PM

The men were shot in five separate incidents. Three were shot downtown.

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Ian Anderson, a sound engineer at the Fine Line, talked about some of the problems on the street late evenings in downtown Minneapolis.

Photo: David Brewster, Star Tribune

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In a night of gunfire that kept Minneapolis police and 911 dispatchers intensely busy, six men were shot late Sunday and early Monday, three of them in the downtown Warehouse District, two in south Minneapolis and one at an unknown location.

As of late Monday, two of the victims remained hospitalized in critical condition with life-threatening injuries, and no one had been arrested. None of those shot has been identified, and except for a double wounding downtown, the shootings are not thought to be related.

Police Chief Tim Dolan said that the three downtown shootings were not random. "They seem to be targeted, argument-related," he said.

Dolan declined to speculate on motives in any of the shootings, but as police have done after previous Warehouse District incidents, he sought to quash concerns about downtown, noting that violent crime is down 3 percent for the year.

"The average person going to the average bar is not going to run into that situation," he said. "It was not a good night, obviously."

The downtown shootings came near bar closing time in an area where bars are already under scrutiny by city regulators. They also occurred on what has become the most troubled night of the week -- Sunday, when some clubs admit anyone 18 or older.

Christopher Kaneakua, who works security at the Aqua Nightclub, 400 1st Av. N., said he heard the shots from two incidents. After he left work, he found his car behind crime scene tape with a bullet hole in the rear driver's side panel. He said he was parked on the street across from Karma, a club at 315 1st Av. N. "Thankfully, I was down the street" when the shots were fired, Kaneakua said. "I definitely worry about that, especially Sunday night."

"It's a few ruining it for everyone," said Erik Forsberg, who owns the Ugly Mug, a bar located kitty-corner from Karma at the intersection where two of the victims were shot.

A sound engineer down the block at the Fine Line Music Cafe said he parks several blocks away and bikes to work to keep his car safer. When nearby clubs close in the wee hours, "It gets kind of haggard out there," said Ian Anderson. "We try to end all of our shows early, for that very reason."

Anderson gestured toward 4th Street N., half a block away. The highest point on 1st Avenue N. is sometimes called "Mount Stabby," he said, adding that he believes late-night violence in the area "has really gone up in the last 2 1/2 years."

Forsberg disagreed, saying that he believes his neck of downtown Minneapolis has far less crime than it used to. "It is actually quite safe down here."

Dolan said extra city police were on the streets Sunday night and many clubs have private security, but the masses pouring out at Sunday bar closings are staggering. He likened it to the State Fair Midway on a very busy night.

The area is heavily monitored by cameras that captured at least one shooting clearly, Dolan said, adding that others would soon be reviewed. "One video can lead to another," he said.

In one bar closing incident, an argument appeared to have been the impetus when a 21-year-old man was shot in the head at 2:15 a.m. Monday at 1st Avenue N. and 3rd Street N. He is in a life-threatening condition at Hennepin County Medical Center.

At the same time and place, a 19-year-old man was shot in the upper body. His injuries were not life-threatening, said Minneapolis police spokesman Sgt. Bill Palmer.

Ten minutes later, in a parking lot at 5th Street and 1st Avenue N., a 23-year-old man was shot in the head after an argument. That man was in stable condition, Palmer said.

Shortly after those shootings, a fourth man walked into Hennepin County Medical Center with a gunshot wound to his leg. He provided only his name and left before he was treated, so police do not know the origins of his wound.

In two other shootings, Palmer was unable to say whether the victims knew their attackers.

The first shooting occurred at 9:30 p.m. Sunday when aman attempted to rob another man at 24th Street and Nicollet Avenue S. The victim was shot in the hand, Palmer said.

At 11:30 p.m., a 26-year-old man was shot in the head in a car outside a restaurant at Groveland and Nicollet Av. S., just south of downtown. A woman in the car drove it to a gas station at 22nd Street and Lyndale Av. S. The man was taken from there to HCMC and is in "extremely critical" condition, Palmer said.

Several unidentified witnesses saw the shooting, according to the incident report.

With the exception of the incident where two men were shot, Palmer said, "as far as we know, none of these are connected."

raolson@startribune.com • 612-202-6487 Twitter: @rochelleolson slemagie@startribune.com • 952-882-9016

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