Two more killings in St. Paul Sunday pushed the city into its deadliest year in more than a decade, prompting Mayor Melvin Carter to schedule public meetings across the city to talk about public safety.
The two murders brought the city’s grim tally to 26. Nine people were killed in September alone.
“We will never accept violence as the norm,” Carter said in a statement Monday. “Building the safe city we deserve will require new, proactive approaches to public safety, which must be built together.”
The mayor has proposed a 2020 budget that would create a police department with 630 sworn officers, according to a city spokesperson. The mayor has also indicated that he may ask the City Council for more public safety funding in the 2020 budget.
In the first case on Sunday morning, police found a man dead inside a unit at Como-Dale Estates in the 600 block of Front Avenue. The Ramsey County medical examiner identified him Monday as Steven Dennis Malone, 65, of St. Paul. The medical examiner has not said how he died.
Officers who responded to the scene entered the apartment after Malone didn’t respond to officers’ knocks on doors and windows. After going in, they found what police spokesman Steve Linders described as a “very disturbing scene.”
A woman, 37, from St. Paul, was later arrested and booked into the Ramsey County Adult Detention Center on suspicion of second-degree murder. Police were not sure of the relationship between the victim and the suspect.
In an unrelated killing that occurred just before 11:30 p.m. Sunday, police were called to the area of Kent Street and Central Avenue on a report of shots fired. They came upon a car nearby at St. Anthony Avenue and N. Dale Street, just off Interstate 94, where an unconscious man was in the driver’s seat with a gunshot wound. He was taken to Regions Hospital, where he died. His name has not been released. No one has been arrested.
A second victim was being treated at Regions Hospital for noncritical injuries, police said.
‘It’s really scary’
A woman who lives in the neighborhood where the man was fatally shot has seen violence before.
Nancy Helland was outside her apartment building smoking when she heard “a whole bunch of shots” and saw a white car speed away with the tires squealing. The shots were all too close, she said.
Helland said she called 911 as she fumbled with her key fob to get safely back inside her apartment building, which faces I-94. It’s not the first time she has called in a shooting. About a month ago, she called in another shooting near Kent and Central.
She also was near Allianz Field on Oct. 20 when two people were injured in a nearby shooting as a record crowd packed the stadium to cheer on the Minnesota United in a playoff game.
“It’s really scary,” Helland said of the neighborhood she grew up in and moved back to a couple of years ago. “Police are doing what they can. [Mayor] Melvin Carter has a big problem on his hands.”
After the shooting near the soccer stadium, which injured two men, Carter called on the community to pitch in and address “the core causes of violence.”
Of the 26 homicides in St. Paul this year, 23 have been a result of shootings.
It’s the deadliest year for the city in a decade, surpassing the 24 homicides recorded in St. Paul in 2017.