Neighbors band together after multiple shootings in Tower Grove East

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by Maggie Crane / News 4

KMOV.com

Posted on October 30, 2012 at 9:35 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 31 at 12:15 PM

ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- News 4 is tracking crime right near one of the city’s most popular parks following an astonishing number of calls for gunshots going off in a South St. Louis neighborhood.

Within the past six weeks, police have responded to 32 calls for ‘shots fired’ in Tower Grove East.  The most recent call ended with a murder.

Police are trying to get a handle on this increasing hot spot of violence.  They tell me they have extra patrols on the street right now and that several are driving covert cars in hopes of tracking down the shooters.

Ali Schmidt says sirens are about as common a sound in her South St. Louis neighborhood as gunfire.

“We’ve had several days - sometimes day after day - we’ve had gunshots,” Schmidt said.  “It’s just random gunshots throughout the neighborhood.”

On Saturday those gunshots killed a man police say is a known gang member.

Police tell me that they believe an escalating feud between rival drug dealers or gang members may be to blame for the barrage of bullets peppering Tower Grove East.

Consider this:  a 17-year-old was shot along Minnesota earlier this month, but even though someone shot him, he refused to cooperate with police.

“When I’m sitting in my living room and my daughter comes out of her bedroom and says ‘are those gunshots?’ and I have to say ‘yeah those are gunshots’ for the second night in a row, it’s scary,” Schmidt said.  “It’s definitely scary.”

It’s also an ongoing problem.  In late September News 4 told you about more than a dozen reports of gunfire along Minnesota Ave, where a stray bullet sailed through a home while the family slept inside.

Now good neighbors are banding together, creating a Facebook page to share information and forming a neighborhood watch.

“I went to my very first [neighborhood watch meeting] last week because of the recent gunshots,” Schmidt said.

Police say now, they need even more people involved to help them catch the culprits.

 

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