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1 charged in shooting death of young mother; St. Paul leaders discuss gun violence

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A 24-year-old man is now charged with killing a young mother as she came home from work.

The Ramsey County Attorney's Office filed second-degree murder charges against Alvin Bell Thursday.

Bell, according to the criminal complaint, shot 24-year-old Sara Anne Wierstad Sunday night near the intersection of Beaumont and Bedford streets, just feet from her home. The charges suggest Wierstad may have arrived at her home in the midst of a robbery.

The Pioneer Press reports Wierstad has a 5-year-old, and was working double shifts to help support her child. She was on her way home from a 12-hour work day when she was killed, the paper says.

A fund set up in Wierstad's name has raised more than $6,300. Her obituary requests, in lieu of flowers, to donate to the Julie Zietlow Fund for Aiyanna are preferred (c/o NSP Credit Union, 825 Rice St., St. Paul, MN 55117).

Community meetings on the East Side

It was the most recent in a string of fatal shootings on St. Paul's East Side that have community members and even officers concerned. Five people have been shot and killed in Minneapolis in the past 10 days as well.

On Thursday afternoon, local leaders including Police Chief Tom Smith held a news conference outside, calling for an end to the gun violence.

The day before, East Side residents held a peace rally, FOX 9 reports – a way to make the human cost of such violence real for the community members.

That night, Mayor Chris Coleman and Smith met with more than 120 residents of the East Side to talk about the recent violence, the Pioneer Press reports.

Synika George James, 37, was killed in an alley on the 900 block of Reaney Ave. on Wednesday, Oct. 14. No arrests have been made as of Thursday morning. And 24-year-old Emmett L. Wilson-Shaw was killed in an apparent shooting a few blocks away Oct. 15. Dametrius Moore was charged in connection with the shooting.

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