Trouble in Loop Was Anomaly, Officials Say

Kavita Kumar, STL Today, April 2, 2012

After a year without any major incidents on the Delmar Loop, the warm weather brought out a large number of young people on Saturday night that led to a disturbance and gunfire, followed a couple of hours later by a shooting that left two people hospitalized.

The events sent some patrons who were sitting outside at nearby bars and restaurants indoors, and asking for their checks.

On Sunday, St. Louis and University City officials met for more than an hour at the Moonrise Hotel to discuss the situation and emerged from the meeting saying that the night’s incidents were an anomaly. At a news conference on the sidewalk, they told reporters that the Loop is safe.

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay said that most of the people who come to the Loop behave themselves but that a “very, very few bad apples” caused a bad situation.

{snip}

Officials did not outline any specific plans other than a vow to continue to work together and to monitor law enforcement levels in the popular nightlife district to ensure the Loop is peaceful.

Two years ago, University City adopted an earlier curfew to help stop groups of young people disrupting businesses. Teens under the age of 17 are not allowed to be out without an adult after 9 p.m.

And last spring, police from four departments—University City, St. Louis, Metro and Washington University—stepped up patrols in the Loop after some incidents, including one in which a St. Louis police officer suffered minor injuries after trying to break up a fight near the MetroLink station just east of the Loop.

St. Louis Police Chief Dan Isom said Sunday that the size of those patrols vary depending on the intelligence police officials have. On Saturday night, he said, his department and University City police beefed up their presence—as it has in the past few weeks—in anticipation of an influx of people due to the warm weather.

In addition, he said, there was chatter on social media that young people were planning to show up in the Loop. He said his department had 15 officers in the Loop and University City had about a dozen.

{snip}

In the first incident, about 8:30 p.m., a crowd of 200 to 300 young people congregated at Skinker and Delmar boulevards, according to St. Louis police. A St. Louis police “nuisance abatement” truck is stationed at that corner in the Shell parking lot.

Police tried to break up the group, which then dispersed. Some people moved toward Enright Avenue and gathered in the 700 block of Skinker. Fights broke out, and one person fired shots into the air, police said.

About 30 to 40 more officers from various departments responded to the scene, Isom said.

{snip}

Then a little after 11 p.m., shots were fired in the parking lot of Church’s Chicken at Delmar and Skinker. A man, 19, was shot under his left armpit, and a teenager, 17, was shot in his abdomen. {snip}

{snip}

[Editor’s Note: A search of “the loop black people” on Twitter reveals the following Tweets, all left by black people:

“That’s crazy.. RT @_CoolAsFck: I heard you gotta be 21 after 2pm at the loop now..smh [smacking my head], black people fck it up for everybody”

@LightBrightChey: Black people fck up sht for everybody. What you at the Loop shooting for.?”

“Loop was wild… I thought it was a fckin black people march. They all got kicked out… Police had the dogs out, barkin & shit lmaoo [laughing my ass off]”

“I heard it was a Riot in the Loop last night smh Black people just can’t go nowhere and HAVE FUN …’ ”

“& the loop was on the news! SMH, black people aint about to get to do NOTHING!”

“Why are people are acting so surprised that the loop got shut down. What did you expect? Black people to be in one place and NOT Fight?”

“smmfh black people cant ever do anything. im never going to the loop agin! scared shitless LBVS”]

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