The father of a Minneapolis man shot and killed outside a nightclub, hours before he was due to graduate, has called for an end to the soaring violence in the city – as commemorations are planned for the anniversary of George Floyd‘s death.
Minneapolis, like many big cities in the U.S., has seen its gun crime soar in the past few months as lockdowns end and police numbers fall.
Floyd’s May 25 murder by police sparked revulsion against officers, and strengthened a movement to cut their funding and reduce their presence.
As a result, record numbers of police are taking early retirement in some cities, or simply walking away.
Police in Minneapolis respond to the shooting outside Monarch nightclub early on Saturday
Two people were killed and eight others injured after the gunfight broke out
Nearly 200 Minneapolis police officers have left the force in the wake of the death of Floyd, with many filing post-traumatic stress claims, Fox News reported.
Minneapolis has seen at least 31 homicides this year, not including this weekend’s violence.
Homicides are up 108 per cent from a year earlier, in the 12 months to May 10, while shootings have risen 153 per cent, Fox 9 reported.
The city has seen a 222 per cent increase in car-jackings this year compared with this point in 2020, averaging 1.27 incidents per day, according to police data.
Greg Johnson, whose son Charlie, 21, was shot and killed in the early hours of Saturday, insisted that something needed to change.
Charlie Johnson is seen with his father Greg, mother Veronique and sister Camille
The 21-year-old was shot and killed in the early hours of Saturday outside a club in Minneapolis
Charlie was celebrating his graduation with friends when a gunfight broke out outside the Monarch nightclub at around 2am.
Charlie and one of the gunmen was killed. A second gunman was arrested on Sunday.
‘This beautiful man is my son. He was stolen from us yesterday,’ wrote Greg Johnson on Facebook.
‘The pain is too raw to deal with, but I want the world too know what it lost yesterday. He was the best of all of us and left a beautiful impact on every single life he touched. He is my hero.
‘Please, say his name with me and let’s work together with peace and love to end this culture of gun violence and crime.
‘No politics please, just love and compassion for each other as Charlie had for all of us. I AM CHARLIE!’
On Saturday Charlie’s sister, Camille, collected his engineering degree certificate from the University of St Thomas, in an emotional ceremony.
Charlie’s death came as the community was still recovering from three prior shootings that left two children injured and a third dead.
A $30,000 reward was issued this weekend in the hunt for suspects responsible for the shootings of the children over the past several weeks, including a nine-year-old girl killed by stray gunfire while jumping on a backyard trampoline.
‘These brazen senseless acts of gun violence must stop,’ said Medaria Arradondo, Minneapolis chief of police.
‘The perpetrators of these crimes should never find refuge or anonymity in our communities.
‘We need help from community leaders and residents to stand up and speak out denouncing loudly that they will not tolerate this violence as well.’
George Floyd was killed by Derek Chauvin, a police officer, on May 25, 2020
Floyd’s murder saw anti-police protests spring up across the United States
Activists called for the defunding of police. In Minneapolis, nearly 200 officers have since quit
Jacob Frey, the mayor of Minneapolis, told a press conference on Sunday that he had requested help from several different jurisdictions to combat the recent violence seen in the city.
He said state troopers have been providing assistance from Saturday evening into Sunday morning and the Minneapolis Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is aiding the investigation into Johnson’s murder.
‘Safety in our city has to be a priority,’ Frey said.
He said reinforcements for police were ‘really, really critical.’
Yet the grandfather of nine-year-old Trinity Ottoson-Smith, who was fatally shot while jumping on a trampoline in her backyard in early May, said the reinforcements needed to be permanent.
‘We need more police officers. There is no doubt in my mind,’ said Randy Ottoson.
He told The Star Tribune that police reform is necessary, but patrols were essential.
‘I’m praying for all of these families but, you know what, I’m praying for the next people too.’