East African Community Reeling from Weekend Violence, Demands Solutions
After the latest spasm of gang violence, Minneapolis’ Somali residents and business owners on Monday stepped up their calls for help from City Hall and police headquarters to help curb the senseless shootings that they say too often go overlooked.
On Friday alone, five men of Somali descent were shot in separate attacks, one fatally.
Police and community members pinned the blame for the bloodshed on an ongoing feud between Cedar-Riverside neighborhood gangs like 1627 and Madhiban With Attitude (MWA) and their rivals, the Somali Outlaws, whose territory includes the area around Karmel Mall. Friday’s shootings were a repeat of a familiar pattern: a shooting on one gang’s turf is usually followed hours, if not minutes later by an “eye-for-an-eye” response so as not to appear weak, community members say. Two shootings last month are also blamed on the conflict.
In response to the recent violence, First Precinct inspector Eddie Frizell said he increased foot patrols, while reassigning some of his mounted patrol officers to ride in squad cars sweeping the area. He said he also has a “dedicated response car” that responds to serious crime scenes around the area after 6 p.m.
The latest shooting in the feud happened Friday night, when police say several members of the Somali Outlaws were shot, possibly for infringing on enemy territory.
Surveillance video from the homicide, which occurred just before midnight, showed three males — aged 17, 21 and 31 — sitting in a parked car at 1500 S. 4th St. when two men approached and began firing before fleeing, witnesses say. Their bullets ripped into the car, hitting all three occupants and killing the teenager, police said. The other men were treated at area hospitals.
Despite the recent bloodshed, police statistics suggest Cedar-Riverside has gotten safer than it has been, as aggravated assaults like stabbings and shootings fell 65 percent from 2017 to last year. Overall, violent crimes are down more than 40 percent.