Scared and frustrated, St. Paul's eastsiders march for peace

- After 3 murders in 5 days, residents of St. Paul’s east side took a stand Wednesday night by coming together for a walk against violence, then meeting with city leaders to share their safety concerns. The victims' families are calling for the shootings to end by showing the human impact of this violence.

Nicole Williams and Asia Loscheider say if they don't speak up, they're afraid the 3 recent victims of gun violence will become mere statistics.  

“It will just keep a chain reaction, and everybody will keep getting killed,” Loscheider said. “That's just another soul lost. And they'll all be forgotten.”

That's why they organized Wednesday’s peace walk, starting at the old Stroh's Brewery, cutting through several neighborhoods, and ending at Weida Park.

As for the victims, police say 37-year-old Synika James was shot and killed as he attended a vigil last week near Cypress Street and Reaney Avenue. Clarissa James says she wants the community to help find her brother's killer.

“There are no arrests and people aren't cooperating at all,” James said. “They're still out here shooting people and shooting up people's houses, and it's scary.”

March co-organizer Nicole Williams wants 24-year-old Emmett Shaw to be remembered as the kid who would always come over to play basketball, not as a victim of a drive-by shooting on the Earl Street Bridge.

“He was just at my house, had a meal just 2 weeks ago,” Williams said.

And 24-year-old Sarah Wierstad's parents are still processing her shooting death in front of her home in the Payne-Phalen neighborhood after she returned from work. They are now focused on trying to raise her 5-year-old daughter.

“We want a stable life for her, and for her to remember her mom, and that she was a good mom,” said Julie Zietlow.

What are police doing about it?

After the walk, community members gathered inside the St. Paul Police Department’s Eastern District, where Chief Tom Smith and Mayor Chris Coleman said they are doing everything possible to keep the public safe.  Along with adding extra patrols, police are also urging any witness to the shootings to come forward, saying they can do so anonymously. 

Investigation updates

A St. Paul man and a Minneapolis woman booked into the Ramsey County jail for murder in connection with Wierstad’s death. Charges are expected Thursday.

Criminal charges were filed Wednesday against 23-year-old Dametrius Moore of St. Paul. According to the complaint, he told investigators he was the driver in the drive-by shooting last Thursday on the Earl Street bridge that killed 24-year-old Emmett Wilson-Shaw. Police also arrested 21-year-old Tyree Beecham, who was allegedly in the passenger seat. Moore and Beecham say a third man in the backseat fired 7 or 8 rounds at 4 men walking on the bridge.

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