Residents near latest killing are surrounded by crimeby Art Hughes, Minnesota Public Radio
Minneapolis police arrested a 20-year-old man Tuesday in connection with the weekend shooting death of a pizza delivery man. Authorities expect to charge the suspect and say the investigation into the homicide continues.
The violence continued Tuesday morning when three men forced their way into the same house where the weekend shooting happened. Police say the men shot and wounded one of the residents, and made off with about $2,000 in cash.
The shootings are only the most recent reminders of a spike in violent crime centered in the already-troubled neighborhoods in north Minneapolis. Many residents are wary, but resigned to endure the crime that surrounds them.
Minneapolis, Minn. — An ice cream truck's loudspeaker coaxes children to line up in the Hawthorne neighborhood street, just a few yards from where 20-year-old Tuao Xiong was gunned down after delivering pizzas to a nearby house. Police are still trying to determine if a second shooting at the same address is somehow related. A man wounded in the shooting is recovering.
The violence is disturbing, but not surprising to one resident who lives nearby. He didn't want to give his name, fearing for his life.
"If you're out there stirring it up in a hornet's nest, you're going to get stung. So the best way is to avoid it. There isn't much you can do," he said. "You've got a crime watch which really isn't working in this area. They tried to do it and it really isn't working. ... There's not enough people interested in trying to keep this area clean."
This neighbor has called 911 so many times, he says police told him to stop calling and appeal to city inspectors to deal with chronic problems of noise, fights and suspected drug dealing. He's lived in the neighborhood five years and says he lives by a code of conduct to avoid danger.
"You become sort of shell-shocked. You're kind of concerned. When I drive at nights my doors are always locked. I'm more cautious when I come to a stop sign, knowing there's a lot of activity going on. In a way I kind of protect myself."
The house where the recent shootings happened is one of those many places in north Minneapolis that seem to attract crime. Police say they've been to the address some 30 times this year, serving drug warrants, responding to noise complaints and checking on domestic violence calls.
Another resident down the street asks to reveal only his first name, Larry, because he too fears retaliation if he's identified. He's moving into the neighborhood from south Minneapolis, because his fiancee's mother gave the couple her house as a gift for their upcoming wedding.
A floor fan helps boost the reach of a window air conditioner. The front window blinds are closed against the glare of the sun, and anything else from outside that might pose a threat.
"You've got people wishing they could take their girls for walks around the block up in the park. They stopped doing that because of all the shootings and prostitution and stuff that's going on around here," said Larry. "A lot of people are just afraid for their lives, they're staying in their house, closing their blinds, locking their doors. Should nobody have to live like that."
North Minneapolis is a battleground over gang turf and drug territory, that sometimes claims the innocent. Xiong is only the most recent bystander caught up in the violence.
The shooting is a few blocks from the flower shop where owner Randy Sherer was killed during a robbery two years ago. An ice cream truck driver was robbed and shot near the same time. A utility repairman was shot in an apparent robbery attempt nearby.
Minneapolis Police Lt. Greg Reinhardt says he's hopeful that the addition of state troopers, and a focus on getting the most violent offenders behind bars, will have long term benefits. He says the results of such intitiatives take time.
"Pizza man, gang-banger, police officer or Joe Citizen, no one deserves to be shot down, killed in the middle of the street," said Reinhardt. "It's a heineous crime, and unfortunately in this part of the city, there have been more of them."
Minneapolis police are also investigating a fatal shooting in south Minneapolis, the 41st homicide in the city this year.
- All Things Considered, 08/08/2006, 5:19 p.m.