A man was fatally shot in north Minneapolis' Jordan neighborhood Monday afternoon as bloodshed continued during an exceptionally violent year in the state's largest city.
In the most recent slaying, patrol officers were called just before 4:30 p.m. to the 2900 block of N. Oliver Avenue, where they found a man suffering from a gunshot wound, according to police spokesman John Elder. He was taken to North Memorial Health Hospital, where he died a short time later. The victim, whose identity wasn't immediately released, was thought to be in his 30s.
The killing was the city's 56th homicide of 2020, according to Minneapolis police crime statistics — eight more than all of last year, and just one off of the 20-year high of 57, recorded in 2006.
Police scanner transmissions showed that the victim was found lying outside a residence with a gunshot wound to the head. Witnesses provided police with a description of the suspect vehicle, which was later aired to officers citywide: an early-2000s black Hyundai Elantra, last seen on N. 29th Avenue.
At a news briefing later, Elder implored any witnesses to come forward with information about the Monday shooting.
"It's continued trauma, it's a continued feeling of fear, and a continued feeling of uncertainty," he said.
While the pace of nonfatal shootings has slowed a bit in recent weeks since the creation of an anti-crime task force run by the U.S. Attorney's Office, the number of killings has not: August surpassed July as the year's deadliest month, with 15 homicides.
Monday's slaying happened less than half a mile from another fatal shooting the day before.
In that incident, a man in his 40s died at an area hospital after being shot while sitting inside a car near the intersection of N. Logan and Lowry avenues. Witnesses recalled the suspect or suspects getting into a silver Monte Carlo with a racing flag decal. The vehicle left down an alley behind a nearby gas station, according to the scanner transmissions.
The intersection has a troubled reputation, which was highlighted recently in a WCCO-TV news report.
Sunday evening's shooting followed another homicide earlier in the day, in which a man was found shot to death inside a vehicle in the Hawthorne neighborhood.
The deaths continued a surge in shootings and homicides dating back to the May 25 police killing of George Floyd and ensuing riots.
Minneapolis isn't alone, with other large cities experiencing staggering levels of bloodshed.
Experts attributed the continuing rise in violence to a variety of factors ranging from warming temperatures and unrest over police brutality to the economic and psychological strain of the COVID-19 pandemic — while pointing out that overall crime remains at generational lows across the country.
Trahern Pollard, founder and CEO of the crime prevention group We Push for Peace, said that the closure of community centers and programs offering young people an alternative to life on the streets due to the pandemic was also having an effect.
"I mean, do you take away sports and recreation from an inner-city kid? That's a huge component," said Pollard, who was at the scene of another homicide in Brooklyn Center on Sunday when he got a called to the shooting scene on Lowry. "So when you drive around Minneapolis, you see these kids congregating by these gas stations and grocery stores," because they don't have anything to do.
Authorities have not released a motive for the shooting at Lowry and Logan. But it's where neighbors angrily confronted police and city officials earlier this summer about rampant drug use, prostitution and gunfire in the area. Some worried that if left unchecked, the situation could lead to more violence.
Fourth Ward Council Member Phillipe Cunningham, who attended the July 20 meeting, said the area's crime problem requires a more nuanced approach to public safety: targeting the most violent offenders, while ensuring access to drug treatment, mental health counseling and other supportive services.
"What we're just seeing is the issue being moved around from block to block, so we need to actually get to the roots to disrupt it rather than displace it to another community," he said on Monday. "And with all that said, I'm still incredibly frustrated and my heart is heavy with the loss of life. We've been putting in work and it takes time to disrupt these cycles."