By Libor Jany
From Star Tribune
MINNEAPOLIS—Ten people were shot, two of them fatally, when gunfire broke out outside a downtown Minneapolis nightclub overnight Saturday, capping an exceptionally violent night across the city.
The incident, one of the most casualty-laden shootings in the city’s history, occurred just before 2 a.m. outside Monarch, 322 N. 1st Av., police spokesman John Elder said.
The two deaths, coming just hours after a shooting homicide in north Minneapolis, brought the number of 2021 homicides in the city to 31. They also came as a loosening of pandemic restrictions and warmer weather are drawing crowds back to restaurants, bars and entertainment venues.
“Last night again brought tragic news,” Mayor Jacob Frey said in a prepared statement. “Again, our collective conscience is shocked. Lives have been lost on our North Side and downtown. And we are left to process the reality that bullets have struck innocent bystanders, people welcoming the warm weather and celebrating being together again.
“These outcomes are not fated,” Frey continued. “We can stem crime in our city, but it will take all of us coming together with a renewed commitment to preventative work and a shared resolve to stop the gun violence and bring the perpetrators to justice.”
Frey said he continues to work with Police Chief Medaria Arradondo and Office of Violence Prevention director Sasha Cotton to address the uptick in violence, and that he supports Arradondo’s recent request for “critical public safety funding.”
Addressing the frequent lack of cooperation investigators have faced after violent crimes, Arradondo released a statement saying, “These brazen senseless acts of gun violence must stop. The perpetrators of these crimes should never find refuge or anonymity in our communities. Minneapolis police officers will continue to rush into harm’s way to save lives however we need help from community leaders and residents to stand up and speak out denouncing loudly that they will not tolerate this violence as well. … Our children are watching us and how we respond during these times. Let’s come together to uplift hope and peace.”
A preliminary investigation suggests that two men got into a “verbal confrontation” on the sidewalk outside Monarch, which was crowded as dozens of clubgoers left around bar closing time. Both men pulled out guns and began shooting at each other, Elder said.
“It’s the same thing we’ve said over and over again; bottom line is people need to put their guns down,” Elder said. “It’s as simple as that. There needs to be other ways to solve differences.”
Police said that of the 10 people shot, all are believed to be adults. Five are men, including the two killed, and five are women. One victim, a man, remained in critical condition early Saturday, and the other seven have noncritical injuries.
No arrests had been announced as of midday Saturday. Seven homicide detectives have been called in to work the case.
The carnage at Monarch was not the only shooting in the city on Friday night into Saturday morning: Five people were shot in other separate incidents, and a man was fatally shot in a vehicle at N. Logan and 26th avenues just before 9 p.m.
A Facebook Live video posted by a woman outside the Monarch appears to show the aftermath of the scene, which by then was flooded with dozens of officers and bystanders and awash in flashing blue lights. A man is heard in the video checking on some of the onlookers, asking them if they are OK.
“Where’d it happen?” another man is heard asking him.
“Right here in front of the club, bro. Right here in the front door, literally,” the first man responded.
©2021 Star Tribune. Visit startribune.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.