A fatal shooting Monday in St. Paul's Payne-Phalen neighborhood left one woman dead and marked a grim new record for homicides in Minnesota's capital city.

The victim, identified Tuesday as 40-year-old Lashonda Nix of St. Paul, was unresponsive and not breathing when officers responded at 9:45 p.m. to a 911 call at a residence in the 600 block of E. Cook Avenue. Nix was pronounced dead at the scene; no arrests have been made.

The shooting marked the city's 39th homicide this year, which surpassed the record 38 in 2021. All but five of the deaths were from gunfire, and 10 victims were women, according to a Star Tribune database. The tally includes the fatal shooting of Howard Johnson by a St. Paul police officer earlier this month.

St. Paul police Sgt. Mike Ernster said that so far this year, 82% of cases have been solved, "and we expect that number to rise as we make progress on other open cases."

Ernster said there are no specific trends in terms of motives for the killings, which he said are a mix of domestic violence cases, drug transactions gone bad and "a mix of people that just chose violence to solve their differences."

James Densley, department chair of Metropolitan State University's school of law enforcement and criminal justice, called the surge part of a cycle that has been repeated in other cities.

"There is a certain narrative about rising homicide rates that is almost self-fulfilling. Police are understaffed. Response times are up. Clearance rates are down. Offenders operate with impunity. This feeds the view that the police can't protect you. After George Floyd, they also have little authority to protect you," Densley said. "So, people protect themselves by carrying more guns. More guns mean more shootings when conflicts escalate. More shootings feed the narrative that the city is unsafe and police can't protect you, and so on. It's a dangerous cycle."

That cycle has troubled law enforcement agents, who often find more than 100 bullet casings at crime scenes, and endangered residents who vented their frustrations at a St. Paul community meeting Monday.

Ernster said Tuesday that it's imperative that community members come forward to assist homicide detectives in their investigations.

"We can get most of these cases so far, and when the community steps up it helps us so much more in holding people accountable and getting justice for victims' families," he said.

Data collected by the Star Tribune shows that at least seven of this year's homicide victims died during a domestic dispute. Statistics from the Safe Haven Shelter and Resource Center show that victims of such abuse account for a quarter of violent crimes across Minnesota and most domestic assaults go unreported.

Tina McCombs, a 48-year-old mother of six, became the city's first homicide of 2022. McCombs was killed Jan. 9 when a man with criminal convictions in three states kicked down her apartment door and stabbed her. One of her sons, Lewis McCaleb, remembered his mom as a resilient and loving woman, and that the man accused of killing her, Maurice Smith, struggled with mental health issues. Smith stands charged with first- and second-degree murder in McCombs' death.

"Our community could be more proactive in treating the vulnerable individuals with mental health issues," McCaleb said. "The city and the state needs to put more of an investment into mental health and recognize that this is its own epidemic."

Amanda Champion lost younger sister Angelica Gonzales in early September to gunfire that killed two other people in an East Side home on Case Avenue. Six people were shot in all.

Already raising five children of her own as a single parent, Champion found room in her St. Paul townhome for two of her 33-year-old sister's four children. The four kids were split among three households.

"I'm going through the courts to try and get custody of them, but it's been tough," Champion said of the 16- and 12-year-old nephews who are now part of a seven-child household.

"It's a struggle, but I love it, to be a role model for them," said Champion, 36, who counts on disability benefits and an online fundraising campaign to pay the bills as she copes with health difficulties.

She said the older nephew understands more about how his mother died than the 12-year-old.

"They don't ask any questions," Champion said. "I think it will come in time when they will come to do so. … We are just letting this play its course, and we'll figure things out later."

Champion said she, too, has avoided being consumed about the charges filed against the man accused of killing Gonzales, along with Cory Freeman, 42; and Maisha Spaulding, 44, and wounding three others.

Antonio Wright, 41, was arrested in Chicago, charged and remains jailed on $25 million bail as his case moves toward a tentative trial next summer.

Tyrone Terrill, president of the St. Paul-based African American Leadership Council, said efforts to address crime should focus on root causes instead of consequences, adding that the city's record shows more work must be done.

"It's sad, extremely sad. [It] means the community, the city, and all partners — we've got to do a better job," Terrill said. "This is not something you can police yourself out of. This is not something you can arrest yourself out of. It's going to take an effort from everybody, including the resources to help these families."

Anyone with information about Monday's shooting is asked to call 651-266-5650.

Staff writers Tim Harlow and Paul Walsh contributed to this report.