Mayor Carter announces public engagement events, added public safety funding proposal in wake of shootings

St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter announced a series of public engagement events, a special cabinet meeting and a supplemental public safety budget proposal Monday in response to recent violent incidents across the city.

Carter held a press conference Monday just hours after officers responded to a non-fatal double shooting outside Allianz Field during the Minnesota United playoff game Sunday night.

“Complex problems cannot be addressed with a one-dimensional solution,” Carter said about his plan to curb the city’s violence.

A witness told FOX 9 they saw Sunday night's shooting from a nearby alley. They said they saw a person on a bicycle with a ski mask on.

"I'm so scared," said the witness, who wished to remain anonymous. "The shooting is getting out of control."

Mayor Carter said homelessness, disengaged youth, chemical and mental health problems all contribute to shootings and other violence in St. Paul. This, he said, required a “comprehensive set of solutions,” adding, “Our police officers cannot do it all by themselves.”

Carter said his plan “starts with adding police officers.” His most recent proposal would bring the department to 630 officers, which he says would make the department the largest in St. Paul history.

He said that, with the officer additions, social workers, the “Familiar Faces” pilot program and other social initiatives would accompany them.

He clarified that he has never been against adding more officers, saying, “I’m against pretending that’s the one-dimensional solution to this complex problem.”

It all begins, he says, with treating the gun violence like a public health epidemic.

“The biggest indictor of the flu is if you’ve been around someone with the flu,” he said as an example of how gun violence spreads in the community. 

To begin the press conference, Carter talked about his childhood in St. Paul and how violence was an issue then, too. Toward the end of the event, Carter expressed hope for the city moving forward.

“Our city is not defined by these kinds of events we’ve had,” he said.

This year, 132 people have been shot in St. Paul, killing 22 people, according to the Mayor's office.