Neighborhood group calls on Minneapolis to add police officers after downtown slaying

The leader of a downtown neighborhood group is calling on the City of Minneapolis to up its police force after a Sunday morning homicide in the North Loop.

Officers were called just before 2 a.m. to Washington Avenue and North 1st Avenue for reports of gunshots. At the scene, police found a man lying in the roadway with a gunshot wound. The man was later pronounced dead at the hospital.

“As the population increases, and as the downtown gets more populated, you’re going to have more incidents and you’re going to need more officers,” said the chair of the Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association, Joe Tamburino. “Until the city council gets behind this and does an increase, this is not going to change.”

Sunday’s incident occurred in a neighborhood that, according to the Minneapolis Police Department's Crime Map, has had only 15 aggravated assaults in the last 18 months. This shooting death is the first homicide in the area in that same time period.

Tamburino believes the incident is spillover from a crime hot spot not far from the scene: Hennepin Avenue between roughly 3rd and 6th streets.

"Right now, other than Lisa Goodman in the city council, no one on the city council wants to increase the police force," said Tamburino. "In fact, the council member who represents this district, Steve Fletcher, has even stated in five or 10 years we would have less of a police force."

DeJonn Powell said his cousin was the victim in Sunday’s shooting. He said the 24-year-old father of five was downtown with his wife, mother and step-father when he was shot.

“Chief Arradondo and I have made a strong, coordinated response to violent crime a priority,” said Mayor Jacob Frey in a statement. “Still, as the early summer weeks have made clear, we as city leaders should step up and give our police department the resources and staffing it needs to successfully advance police-community relations and effectively curb violent crime.” 

Minneapolis Police were not releasing much information Sunday night, as they said they did not want to threaten the investigation. A spokesperson said an arrest had yet to be made.

Anyone with information is encouraged to call CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). Tips with information leading to an arrest may be eligible for a financial reward. You can also call the MPD TIP Line at 612-692-TIPS (8477).