Duluth police chief says he understands 'fear and angst' after latest shootings

The police chief puts the recent flurry of shootings down to a statistical anomaly rather than being part of a wider trend.
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Duluth's police chief has sought to reassure residents after two more shootings over the weekend continued a violent few weeks in the city.

Officers responded to two incidents, the first at 11:53 p.m. Saturday saw a man suffer non-life threatening injuries after being struck during a house party by a bullet shot from outside the building on the 100 block of North 65th Ave.

Duluth PD said on its Facebook page that another bullet fired from the gun also hit a neighboring house.

Then at 7:49 p.m. Sunday, police were called to a local hospital after a 19-year-old man arrived with a gunshot wound.

Police are investigating both incidents and have issued an appeal for information, and the Duluth News Tribune reports that this brings the recent toll of shootings that resulted in injuries up to five in the past 16 days, which includes two armed robberies.

Police Chief Mike Tusken told the newspaper there has been a recent uptick in gun-related crime and his officers confiscated twice as many firearms from criminals last year compared to 2015, but said on the whole gun crime has been down.

But in a post on Facebook Sunday evening, Tusken put the recent flurry of shooting incidents down to an anomaly, rather than being part of a wider trend of increasing shootings.

"I empathize how these incidents create fear and angst," he wrote. "Those who use guns to settle disputes harm not only their intended victims but also rob our neighborhoods of a sense of security. For these reasons, we pursue these criminals with great vigor.

"Over my career, we have experienced times like these when violent crime has ticked up. The current trend will not continue. I also know this will not be the last time crime will ebb above the flow."

He notes that in two of the recent shootings, arrests have been made, and a person of interest is being questioned in another.

Anyone with information about the weekend incidents should call Duluth PD on 218-730-5050, or call 911.

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