A man was shot to death Sunday night in St. Paul, marking another violent weekend in a city reeling from a near-record-breaking year of gun deaths.
As light snow fell Sunday night, police continued to investigate and process the scene, searching in and around a tan Honda with the victim’s body slumped inside.
Mayor Melvin Carter has joined law enforcement leaders in calling the shootings a “public health crisis.” He’s asked the community to take an active role in stopping the violence.
The shooting comes days after hundreds of people attended the city’s first of three community meetings about the violence. Two more meetings are scheduled this week.
According to police, officers were called to the 900 block of Rice Street around 5 p.m. Sunday. When they arrived, they found an unconscious man with a gunshot wound in a vehicle on Wayzata Street just east of Rice Street. The man was not breathing. St. Paul Fire paramedics arrived and pronounced the man dead inside the vehicle.
Investigators were working Sunday to determine what led to the shooting and who is responsible.
Another man was shot and killed this fall in the same area. On Sept. 9, an 18-year-old man became the city’s 17th homicide when he was gunned down while walking near Rice Street and W. Winnipeg Avenue, just about a block south of Sunday’s shooting.
The city has had 13 homicides in the two months since then.
Sunday’s death marks the 30th killing in St. Paul this year — the most in 25 years. That tally includes a fatal police shooting. A record 34 people were killed in 1992.
Both Carter and Police Chief Todd Axtell have characterized the recent wave of shootings as an “anomaly” and Axtell has turned to the FBI for assistance in solving homicides.
His detectives have become so burned out by the pace of the killings, he said, that several officers are being temporarily reassigned from the local FBI Safe Streets Task Force to help the homicide and special investigations units.
The FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and U.S. Marshals Service all plan to provide extra resources to the city.
“The record number of homicides isn’t what keeps me up at night,” Axtell said recently. “It’s the thought of another family being ripped apart by gun violence.”