A St. Paul man was murdered Wednesday night outside of his church, though there could have been more victims were it not for one congregant’s legal permit to carry a firearm.
Police told the media Thursday that a gunman shot at a group of people leaving St. Albans Church of God at the intersection of Aurora Avenue and Fuller Avenue in St. Paul. The victim was attending a Bible study with his young daughter and father, who has a valid permit to carry and returned fire.
“After the gunshots the victim ran from the area while his father drew a handgun and returned fire. Investigators have confirmed that the victim’s father has a valid permit to carry,” the St. Paul Police Department said in a press release.
First responders arrived at the scene to discover a trail of blood that led to the victim, who was suffering from apparent gun shot wounds and died at the scene.
“It’s incomprehensible to think someone would shoot into a group of people leaving a church in a neighborhood,” St. Paul Police spokesperson Steve Linders said. “It just makes no sense to any of us.”
The incident remains under investigation and no arrests have been made, but investigators with the department’s Homicide Unit, Gang Unit, and Forensic Services Unit are working to find the suspect.
“Officers have conducted an extensive search of the area for the suspect and anyone else who may have been struck by gunfire but have not found anyone,” the press release said.
The shooting marks St. Paul’s 20th homicide this year, and the sixth in a span of just 17 days.
Despite the potentially life-saving efforts of the victim’s father, residents in the area are clamoring for more gun control.
“St. Paul is going through something right now,” resident Cathy Dozier told The Star Tribune. “What does the community need to do to prevent this? Put the guns down!”
“The real question is where are these guns coming from? We’ve never been terrorized like this before,” another added.
About an hour after the initial shooting, St. Paul residents reported more gunshots outside Winnipeg Market, nine blocks from the first shooting. It’s still unclear if the two incidents are connected.
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