Minneapolis reeled anew at another outbreak of carnage Saturday after three people were killed in overnight shootings, two of them outside a downtown nightclub where eight others were also wounded.
The gunfire, which erupted about 2 a.m. outside the Monarch nightclub at 322 N. 1st Av., came just a few hours after an unrelated fatal shooting in north Minneapolis. The night's three deaths brought the city's 2021 homicide toll to 31.
Late Saturday evening, police spokesman John Elder said that a 23-year-old Bloomington man has been arrested and booked on probable cause murder charges in the shooting outside of the downtown nightclub. He was one of two shooters at the scene, Elder said. The other was one of the victims.
The bloodshed came as a loosening of pandemic restrictions and warmer weather drew crowds back to restaurants, bars and entertainment venues, and in a city that has debated defunding or reforming the city's Police Department in the wake of George Floyd's death a year ago Tuesday. And it brought an outpouring of condemnation and frustration from city leaders and others.
"Last night again brought tragic news," Mayor Jacob Frey said in a prepared statement. "Again, our collective conscience is shocked. These outcomes are not fated. We can stem crime in our city, but it will take all of us coming together."
Frey said he continues to work with Police Chief Medaria Arradondo and Office of Violence Prevention director Sasha Cotton to address the surge in violence, and that he supports Arradondo's recent request for more public safety funding.
Addressing the frequent lack of cooperation investigators have faced after violent crimes, Arradondo released a statement saying, "These brazen senseless acts of gun violence must stop. The perpetrators of these crimes should never find refuge or anonymity in our communities. Minneapolis police officers will continue to rush into harm's way to save lives, however we need help from community leaders and residents to stand up and speak out denouncing loudly that they will not tolerate this violence as well. ... Our children are watching us and how we respond during these times. Let's come together to uplift hope and peace."
A preliminary investigation suggests that two men got into a "verbal confrontation" on the sidewalk outside Monarch, which was crowded as dozens of clubgoers left around bar closing time.
"It's the same thing we've said over and over again; bottom line is people need to put their guns down," Elder said. "It's as simple as that. There needs to be other ways to solve differences."
Police said the 10 people shot outside Monarch were all adults — five men, including the two killed, and five women. One victim, a man, was in critical condition, and the other seven have noncritical injuries.
The carnage outside the downtown nightclub was not the only shooting in the city Friday night into Saturday morning. Five people were shot in other separate incidents, and a man was fatally shot in a vehicle at N. Logan and 26th avenues just before 9 p.m.
Steve Cramer, president and CEO of the Minneapolis Downtown Council, said in a statement that "this insanity will continue" unless "our entire community rises up — family members, elected officials, business, community and faith members, prosecutors, judges, all of us."
"There are too many people in our city today who believe they can act with impunity, consequences be damned," Cramer said. "In particular, we look for determined, clear-eyed leadership from City Hall to put Minneapolis back on course as a city that engenders respectful behavior so all can thrive."
A Facebook Live video posted by a woman outside the Monarch appeared to show the aftermath of the scene, which by then was flooded with dozens of officers and bystanders and awash in flashing blue lights. A man is heard in the video checking on some of the onlookers, asking them if they are OK.
"Where'd it happen?" another man is heard asking him.
"Right here in front of the club, bro. Right here in the front door, literally," the first man responded.
Staff writer Janet Moore contributed to this report.