MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A woman is dead, 14 people are injured and three men are in custody after a mass shooting early Sunday morning near downtown Saint-Paul.
Dozens of gunfire erupted just after midnight at Seventh Street Truck Park, just down the block from Xcel Energy Center. Police said several 911 callers “frantically took help” moments after the attack.
MORE: ‘Horrific’: Minnesota officials react to mass shooting at St. Paul bar
A person close to the deceased woman identified her as Marquisha Wiley and described her as a “magnetic” young woman who was “bright, happy and supportive”.
The remaining victims were taken to area hospitals for treatment and are expected to survive. The Good Samaritans worked with the police to help the victims while paramedics attended the scene.
“I can only describe it as hellish,” said St. Paul Police spokesman Steve Linders. “I think of the young woman who died. One minute she’s having a good time, the next minute she’s lying in the arms of her friends trying to save her life, and she hasn’t made it. I can’t think of anything worse.
Police Chief Todd Axtell tweeted on Sunday that he spoke with the family of the woman who was killed and that they are “absolutely devastated”.
“We will do justice to the victims,” he promised at the time.
The preliminary investigation
Three suspects are in custody. WCCO learned at the time of the shooting that one of them had an active arrest warrant. According to the documents, he did not show up for a sentencing hearing in May. The suspects have yet to be charged, so WCCO is not naming them. Two are convicted felons with a long criminal record.
Investigators worked for over 16 hours, combing through the complicated scene. WCCO has learned that forensic teams have collected casings from the numerous shots fired, documenting where the bullets hit walls and objects. They also gathered evidence like clothes and dusted for fingerprints. Investigators obtained surveillance video from cameras in the area. It is a large and complicated scene that required several homicide investigators from the St. Paul Police Department.
Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher was also at the scene Sunday afternoon. He told WCCO the motive for the shooting was still unclear.
“It is a horrible and tragic event,” said Fletcher. “It appears to be anger, hostility, argument, brawl and guns.”
Fletcher stopped in the area Friday night during his “Live on Patrol” segment on Facebook. His dash cam captured large groups of people in the area and he expressed concern.
“We’ve never had any shots here, I hope we never will. But with this volume, it’s going to happen at some point, right? It’s becoming a very popular place, ”Fletcher said on Facebook Friday.
Police call it an open and active investigation. It is possible that more people are involved, so more arrests are possible.
The Ramsey County District Attorney’s Office said if they received the file from police by Monday morning, charges could be laid as early as Monday afternoon.
Witnesses recount the shooting and the consequences
Witnesses described the scene as chaotic and still dealt with what happened hours later. Demarco Percy fell to the ground with everyone inside the Seventh Street Truck Park.
“It was just gunshots. It was like maybe 10 shots, ”Percy said. “As you look around, everyone is on the ground and thinking, ‘I’m hit! I am touched!’ There are a few people who have been affected. You sort of check yourself to make sure you’re okay.
Demarco says Marquisha Wiley was gunned down right next to him. In those untold moments, Demarco’s mind immediately turned to his three young children.
“I was grateful. Two thumbs to the left, two thumbs to the right, it could have been someone else. I’m grateful it’s not me, ”he said. “Prayers to the family who have lost someone and prayers to those sitting in the hospital at this time.”
MORE: ‘I’ve never seen anything like it’: St. Paul business owners fear mass shooting will reduce recent earnings
Unable to sleep last night, one thing at least brought Demarco some comfort is that three suspects have been arrested.
“My partner has been here for 14 to 15 years. She can’t think of something like that going on in St. Paul, ”said Demarco. “People deserve justice. Someone lost their life, so hopefully they can sort it out and decide who the murderer is so they can lock that person up for a long time.
Demarco was here to celebrate a friend’s birthday, but he says he’s now wondering if he’ll continue to go out at night in this neighborhood.
Jack Larson, 22, said he came to the bar to have fun with friends on what seemed like a normal Saturday night. He remembered how quickly it all happened – he said it was like it happened in just 30 seconds. He told WCCO he heard five or six gunshots, then a pause before more gunshots. He returned Sunday afternoon trying to retrieve his phone that he had left inside.
A person next to him was shot in the leg and he was positioned to “prevent the bullet from hitting my chest or head,” Larson said. He remembers his friend pressuring another individual shot. He left the bar with blood that was not his own stained on his clothes.
“I’m shaken up, I’m not going to lie. It’s not every day that you’re in a bar that gets shot, ”Larson said. “I’m fair, I’m thankful I’m fine. All my friends are doing fine. I try to swallow everything, it’s still fresh.
Lucas Knutson lives above the Seventh Street Truck Bar and said he was about to fall asleep when he heard gunshots below. He looked out the window to find people flooding the street. He remembers seeing four or five people screaming for help as they took a woman into an ambulance.
“It was a little surreal,” Knutson said. “I’ve never seen anything like it in real life outside of TV.
Knutson said the area is fairly peaceful and generally doesn’t experience violence like this.
WATCH: Full police press conference on the St. Paul bar shooting
Mayor Melvin Carter released a statement via Twitter.
– Mayor Melvin Carter (@MayorCarter) 10 October 2021
“Our community is devastated by the shocking scenes last night,” Carter said. “As our agents in Saint Paul strive to detain those responsible for these senseless acts, our work to develop more proactive and comprehensive public safety strategies is more urgent than ever. We will never accept violence in our community.
MORE: ‘We need cops’: Republican gubernatorial candidates refuse to fund police movement after St. Paul bar shooting
Governor Tim Walz called the shooting “horrific”.
“Minnesota holds in our hearts the family of the young woman who was killed and the 14 others injured, as well as the neighborhood of St. Paul in the shock of this senseless gun violence,” said Walz. “We work in close coordination with local law enforcement as they apprehend those responsible. “
Police would like anyone with information about the shooting to call 651-266-5650
This is the second mass shooting in the Twin Cities in less than six months. In May, 10 people were shot dead in the Monarch nightclub in downtown Minneapolis. Two of them died, including a student at the University of St. Thomas.