At least one downtown Minneapolis business is blaming inadequate police presence and monitoring for the continued violence after bar close.
Gunfire erupted at 2:30 a.m. Saturday in the area near 5th Street between Hennepin and 1st avenues, as bar and nightclub patrons scattered. By the time the shooting was over, six people were treated for noncritical injuries, three people were in police custody and two guns were recovered following a foot chase.
Dana Munson, marketing director for the Cowles Center for Dance and the Performing Arts, said patrons have voiced concerns about that area of downtown, both in person and via surveys. The Cowles Center is across 5th from Saturday’s gunfire.
“It’s frustrating,” Munson said Sunday. “I know [officials] are trying to beef up the police presence, but I still see a lack of that and a lack of monitoring of what is happening specifically in that area.”
On Saturday, the area was saturated with bike- and horse-mounted officers, and foot patrols, and Police Chief Janeé Harteau pledged to “vigorously pursue” those responsible.
The gunfire fits a pattern of violence when bars close and large crowds spill into the streets of downtown.
In a statement, Mayor Betsy Hodges said Saturday’s events “are abhorrent and contrary to the values we hold as a city.”
Cowles Center patrons, who often see performances that end just as people flock to nearby bars, are more reluctant to spend their evenings in an area known for such incidents, Munson said.
Last year, a block north of the performance center, a woman sneaked a handgun into Augie’s Cabaret and shot a woman in the head. And in July, at least two people were wounded when gunfire erupted at bar close in the heart of downtown — near N. 4th Street and Hennepin Avenue. Two blocks away, three more people were injured following a second shooting near N. 3rd Street and 2nd Avenue N.
“None of that is helpful when trying to see a show,” Munson said, referring to the shootings on Saturday and last year inside Augie’s. “When I tell [potential patrons] where we are located, nine times out of 10 they say, ‘Oh? Right there?’ ”
As of Sunday evening, no new information was released by police about Saturday’s incident.
Joanne Kaufman, executive director of the Warehouse District Business Association, voiced her frustration over the shootings to the mayor and City Council: “Please help us before one of our employees, an innocent bystander, a sports fan, or a conventioneer is hurt or worse. It is only a matter of time, and the impact will be devastating. Let’s stop this before that happens."