A shootout early Sunday at a Minnesota bar apparently involving several gunmen left one person dead, at least 14 injured and prompted panic and “madness” amid the hail of bullets, St. Paul police said.
No arrests were made and no motive had been determined, Saint Paul Chief of Police Todd Axtell said.
“My heart breaks for the woman who was killed, her loved ones and everyone else who was in that bar this morning,” Axtell said in a statement. “In an instant, they found themselves caught in a hellish situation.”
Axtell said multiple 911 callers frantically begged for help after more than a dozen people were shot inside the Seventh Street Truck Park bar. He said officers responded at about 12:15 a.m. local time to find a “chaotic scene” with 15 people suffering gunshot wounds.
Officers worked with good Samaritans to help the wounded while securing the scene and making sure it was safe for medics, Axtell said. According to Axtell, preliminary evidence from the scene showed that there were many shooters.
A woman in her 20s was pronounced dead, the 32nd homicide of the year in St. Paul, a city of 300,000 people. It is expected that the number of homicides in this city surpasses last year’s record of 34, which was held for close to 30 years.
“We have a very busy bar, a lot of people just enjoying themselves and then we had a few individuals who decided to pull out guns and pull the trigger indiscriminately, with no regard for human life,” police spokesman Steve Linders said. “And I think about the poor woman who was just out enjoying herself. One minute she’s dancing, smiling and laughing, and the next she’s dying in her friend’s arms. It’s nothing short of a tragedy.”
The Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office will conduct an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death and positively identify her. The wounded were transported to area hospitals for treatment but were expected to survive, Axtell said.
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John Maloney said to the Pioneer Press that he heard gunfire from his Oxbo Urban Rental Apartments above the bar.
“All of a sudden, I lost count, I heard multiple gunshots, pop, pop, pop, pop,” he said.
He went out on his patio overlooking the bar and saw a “mass influx of people” pouring out onto the street.
Maloney stated that “people were shouting, hollering, yelling, and running all around,” “I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Melvin Carter, mayor of Melvin Carter claimed that the “shocking scenes” were causing devastation in the area.
“Our work to build more proactive and comprehensive public safety strategies is more urgent than ever,” Carter said on Twitter. “We will never accept violence in our community.”
Investigators issued a request for information and asked anyone who may have any to contact them. The homicide investigation team was working together with police officers, the unit’s forensics and video managers, as well as other investigators to determine the cause of the shooting. Axtell stated.
A reconstruction of the scene was conducted and evidence is being collected. The victims were being interviewed for clues, Axtell said.
“I want them to know that we have the best investigators in the country, and we won’t stop until we find the people responsible for this madness,” he said. “We will do our part to hold them accountable.”
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