Family: Woman, 19, killed by 'senseless' violence while watching street racers in Minneapolis

She was one of three people fatally shot in Minneapolis in a span of 45 minutes.
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Vanessa Jensen

Vanessa Jensen

The 19-year-old woman who was fatally shot in Minneapolis early Saturday morning died of a "senseless act of violence," friends and family say. 

Vanessa Jensen had gone with her cousins to watch street racing in Minneapolis when she was killed. The shooting happened on the 2200 block of North Second Street at about 1:30 a.m. on June 5, police said

"I told her, 'Stay away from those — it's just not a good idea,'" Rachel Jensen told the Star Tribune on Sunday, hours after people released balloons in Vanessa's memory at White Bear Lake High School.

She was set to turn 20 years old in four days but instead "she died from this tragic and senseless act of violence," a Go Fund Me page set up for her family says. "Vanessa Jensen was doing very well in her life, she was hard-working, independent, and making plans for the future. This is an overwhelming loss for so many."

The page describes her as "loyal, smart, sweet, kind, generous and loving, with a mind and style all her own," adding "she liked being around people and had a great sense of humor."

Vanessa was one of two people killed by stray bullets while watching street racers.

The other street racing spectator was shot around 1:48 a.m. in the area of East Lake Street under the bridge that goes over Hiawatha Avenue. Police said in that incident, "a group of people in cars took over" the roadway and were "driving recklessly and spinning around in their cars causing damage to the roadway when two of the individuals got into a dispute."

The two people then began shooting at one another, with a stray bullet hitting a man who had pulled over to watch, police said. 

Street racing has been a major problem in Minneapolis and nearby communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, which mirrors a trend nationwide. 

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Officials in the Twin Cities say they're working to form a group to address the problem, FOX 9 notes. 

There was a third fatal shooting within a span of 45 minutes in Minneapolis early Saturday morning, police said, marking the 38th homicide in the city this year. A Metro Transit witnessed that shooting and shot and injured the suspect, police said. 

Anyone with information on the incidents is asked to call CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or submit a tip online here. All tips are anonymous and could lead to a financial reward. 

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