After spike in gun violence, Mpls. Mayor says 'everyone deserves to be safe'

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Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges has spoken out amid rising concerns over gun violence in the city, telling people that "everybody deserves to be safe."

The Mayor held a press conference Thursday afternoon to address the spike in gun crime in recent weeks, with most of the shootings taking place in North Minneapolis. The latest shooting in the early hours of Thursday morning left one man dead and another wounded (more on this incident below).

"We know there are people who are scared, who are concerned ... We are here to send a message ... Everyone deserves to be safe," she said, according to KSTP reporter Steve Tellier.

Mayor Hodges has pledged more support for police teams in the north of the city, saying eight extra officers will be added to the area in the near future, Tellier added. It comes after a new police unit was launched earlier this year to focus on gang crime across the city.

Reporters were told by Assistant Police Chief Chris Arneson that there have been 111 nonfatal shootings in Minneapolis so far this year, up almost 7 percent on last year, with two-thirds of them happening on the north side, the Star Tribune's Erin Golden notes.

However he said this was a smaller increase than seen in other cities.

As of July 13 there have been 24 homicides in Minneapolis, a rise of a third over the 18 homicides during the same period last year, a police crime report shows.

Spike in shootings in Minneapolis

The police department's shots fired figures show there were 26 confirmed shootings in the two weeks up to July 13. This compares to 15 shootings during a similar period in 2014, 19 in 2013 and 6 in 2012.

KSTP reports that there were 13 shootings in each of the weeks June 30-July 6 and July 7-13, the highest levels seen since Minneapolis started publishing shots fired data in 2012.

Most of the shootings happened in North Minneapolis, with others occurring downtown and South Minneapolis.

Man fatally shot after 'verbal altercation'

And the gun crime has continued this week, with a man fatally shot in the early hours of Thursday morning on the 2300 block of Thomas Avenue North, according to a police news release.

Another man sustained gunshot wounds in the incident, which happened just before 2:40 a.m. and is said to have started out as a verbal dispute. Nobody is in custody at this time.

The medical examiner will release the victim's identity at a later stage.

Anyone with information about the shooting should call Crimestoppers on 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or send an anonymous tip to CRIMES (274637) and begin message with TIP674. Alternative call the MPD tip line at 612-692-8477.

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