Tag Archives: STL

All News Stories Mentioning the Gun Fight in Front of Our Loft

5 Oct

I scoured the news to try to find out what happened at our lofts. There was one article and 4 peripheral mentions of the gun fight at our lofts.

Here is my story of what I observed that night for comparison:

St. Louis hopes solution to summer crime is combo of enforcement, youth programs

ST. LOUIS — City officials on Thursday outlined a plan to combine enforcement and funding to deter crime in the summer months.

The city will devote $1 million in Community Development Block Grants to provide summer programming for children and teens, including camps, pop-up events and three meals a day, officials said at an event with community partners at the O’Fallon Park Rec Complex YMCA.

At the same time, police patrols are being increased, said Heather Taylor, deputy director for the Department of Public Safety. The police department will use data to determine when and where officers should patrol to help reduce crime downtown and in the Downtown West neighborhood.

The dual tactics come amid concerns about an uptick in crime in the downtown area recently and as students are wrapping up classes ahead of summer. Taylor said keeping kids engaged and providing them resources is critical in creating a safer city and a better future. “I actually grew up in St. Louis city, and rec centers are why I’m here,” Taylor said. “… I grew up in the ’90s where homicides were at their highest in the city of St. Louis. If it wasn’t for rec centers, having that outlet and those resources available to me, I wouldn’t be a college graduate.”

The city and St. Louis Public Schools worked together to create Summer Fun STL, a series of youth camps, programs and pop-up events that will take place at seven locations from June 6 through July 29. The offerings also will include three meals a day for kids ages 5 to 17. City officials hope to serve about 700 kids with the programs. The locations are: Nance Elementary, Oak Hill Elementary, Ashland Elementary, Walbridge Elementary, Patrick Henry Downtown, Yeatman Middle School and Peabody Elementary School.

The Gateway Region YMCA also will provide programming with funding from the Prop S Youth at Risk Program. More information on the city’s youth summer programs is available at www.stlouis-mo.gov.

Paired with the new programming, the city is boosting police enforcement efforts. Officers will work 12-hour shifts on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. And during peak crime hours — 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. — the city will increase traffic enforcement, air support, specialized units, park rangers and deputy marshals. A collaboration with the St. Louis Sheriff’s Office also will provide an increased police presence on Washington Avenue and Market Street.

The city began increased patrols of downtown about a month ago, and this week announced they have worked with rentable electric scooter companies to shut down the service at 7 p.m. in the downtown area after residents complained of safety hazards created by the scooters.

Additionally, Lt. Col. Michael Sack announced the city’s public safety department has developed an incident mass notification system in partnership with federal authorities, highway patrol and local agencies, to help the city investigate large-scale violence and mass shootings. Sack is the commander of the Bureau of Community Policing but will take over as interim police chief next month when Chief John Hayden retires.

6.) https://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/st-louis-hopes-solution-to-summer-crime-is-combo-of-enforcement-youth-programs/article_b50b0c28-9379-582a-afff-77077a3d8763.html

Downtown ambassadors in St. Louis act as ‘eyes and ears’ to spot trouble, offer help

ST. LOUIS — On a warm June night in downtown St. Louis, a woman walked frantically around Kiener Plaza. She spotted two men in bright orange vests, ran up to them and asked if they’d seen a man with two small children. The kids were her godchildren, she explained, and the man had called to say they were stranded downtown, with no car. His phone had then died. The men in the vests, part of the Downtown Youth Ambassadors, had been paying attention. One asked if a child in the group had curly hair and a grayish shirt. Yes, the woman replied, in relief. “I think I saw them that way, but I’ll keep a lookout,” said the ambassador, pointing west toward Citygarden. When asked by a reporter if similar situations happen often, he nodded. “All the time,” he said, as he and his orange-vested partner continued walking throughout downtown.

The Youth Ambassadors program was created a year ago through the Downtown St. Louis Community Improvement District, a special taxing district that pays for cleaning, security and other services in the city’s entertainment and employment hub. A group of ambassadors, who are mostly school resource officers, patrol the streets every weekend to help visitors, answer questions and spot trouble. One of the primary objectives of the program was to help address mayhem and crimes that have occurred downtown, especially among teens. The ambassadors’ roles drew heightened attention this spring, as large groups of juveniles roamed the streets on electric scooters, with some occasionally breaking into fights. On the first Saturday in June, two teen girls were wounded when gunfire erupted as two groups of juveniles began fighting around 8 p.m. In 2022, at least one teen has been injured by gunfire in downtown every month.

On some nights, the ambassadors witness the aftermath of shootings and fights. Sometimes they rush to help victims of violence. They communicate with police, even when they just sense trouble may be brewing. They also serve as deterrents, stepping in to talk with teens, some of whom they recognize, before mischief turns more serious. Other days are much calmer. Ambassadors will give out directions to visitors trying to find their hotels after sightseeing near the Gateway Arch, or dish out restaurant recommendations to Cardinals fans. “We’re just eyes and ears here to make sure everything is going OK,” said Janice Dickerson, one of the ambassadors.

Forming the program, recruiting ambassadors

The Youth Ambassador program is similar to one started years ago by the Downtown St. Louis CID, but the new version was crafted by Ron Johnson, a retired Missouri Highway Patrol captain. Johnson was appointed by then-Gov. Jay Nixon to head security in Ferguson after the police shooting of Michael Brown in 2014. He retired in 2018 after three decades in law enforcement and launched a security consulting firm. St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner hired Johnson’s firm in 2019 on a one-year contract to serve as a liaison between her office and police.

Kelli McCrary, executive director for Downtown St. Louis CID, brought on Johnson’s firm to help improve safety downtown.

The neighborhood organization has allocated about $100,000 to the Downtown Youth Ambassador program. McCrary says there may be room to grow the program in the future.

Last summer, Johnson drove around for nearly eight weeks and spotted a trend: large groups, sometimes 30 or more youths, on Washington Avenue and along the grassy park areas along Market Street, from Memorial Plaza to Kiener Plaza. His next step, he said, was trying to address how to break up the “youthful” large crowds, which he noted sometimes included older teens and young adults. “I didn’t take the approach ‘Well how do we stop our youth from coming downtown?’” he said. “I didn’t take the approach of ‘Well how do we arrest ourselves out of an issue? But how do we make sure that we can all exist and enjoy the treasures of downtown?’”

Johnson met with Kelvin Adams, superintendent of St. Louis Public Schools, to ask for recommendations from the district’s resource officers, who are trained in de-escalation and crisis intervention, and to help form the team of ambassadors.

Today, most of the ambassadors are resource officers who roam school hallways with students and often recognize those students while working downtown. There are also a few other school employees and retired police officers in the program. “I just love kids. You just have to for this job,” said Cortez Ward, one of the program’s supervisors and a resource officer at Gateway Middle School. Ward is one of about 40 ambassadors working part time on weekends.

The ambassadors are instructed not to disarm people, and they do not have authority to make arrests. They are equipped with vests and radios — and their experience working with youths. “When the kids can see themselves in you, that’s how you form a relationship with them,” Johnson said. “You see them and they see you, and they can begin to put themselves maybe in their position. And when you’re trying to talk to him or her, that’s a better opportunity for them to listen.”

‘You can’t stop everything’

Ambassadors believe they can earn the trust of youths and other residents. Nancy James, an ambassador and former police detective, says some kids will come up to her to warn of trouble. “They’ll point out who has a gun or who is starting a fight,” James said. When trouble does hit, the ambassadors often have to intervene.

One night in May, James took cover when shots rang out near Kiener Plaza. She then calmed a young girl who had a graze wound on her back. James said she connected to police by radio and helped get in contact with the injured girl’s mother.

The ambassadors say that parents have a role to play, pointing out, for example, that they’ve seen adults drop off large groups of kids and then drive off. Police and city officials in recent weeks have pleaded with parents to supervise kids more carefully downtown; some ambassadors say those pleas may help explain why downtown on recent weekends has been calmer.

Others say the city’s ban on scooters downtown has sent a message to kids that they should avoid the area.

Johnson, the program director, says the youths heading downtown are not coming from just one neighborhood, or even just the city. He believes regional leaders, from across St. Louis County and the Metro East, need to work together to establish activities and events for youths on weekends.

One ambassador, Carole Dent, a former police officer and currently a parole officer for the Department of Corrections, says some “terrible” incidents have overshadowed the downtown experience. Dent says a small group of “bad actors” is usually at the center of trouble, with most other teens just running around scared. But she added that she has just as many good memories as bad, recalling teens taking prom pictures downtown in the spring. “You can’t stop everything,” she said. “You don’t know how much we’ve stopped either.”

7.) https://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/downtown-ambassadors-in-st-louis-act-as-eyes-and-ears-to-spot-trouble-offer-help/article_bdd90261-0d06-52d4-a51f-96ae414cf2bd.html

100 Shots Fired Between Downtown St. Louis Rentals

It’s not the first shooting at a downtown short-term rental this year

By Benjamin Simon on Wed, Jul 20, 2022 at 3:04 pm

Short-term renters fired up to 100 shots at each other Wednesday morning. Nearly 100 shots were fired during a shootout between short-term renters early Wednesday morning, according to the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. Around 1 a.m. in the Downtown West neighborhood, an argument broke out between parties staying on the 1900 block of Washington Avenue and on the 400 block of North 20th Street. Shortly after, a nearby resident told KSDK that they’d heard shots similar to “machine fire” for two to three minutes.

Initially, witnesses stated to police that the shooting took place between separate Airbnb renters. They have since clarified their statement to say that the shooting took place between “short-term rentals.” An Airbnb spokesperson confirmed to RFT there are no active or recent reservations at either property on 1920 Washington or 411 N. 20th Street.

Two people were injured, according to the police’s incident report. The police noted that they arrested two suspects and seized “a large quantity” of narcotics and firearms in one of the rental units. This is the most recent incident in a slew of deadly shootings this year at short-term rental units in the downtown area.

In early March, a 16-year-old was shot and killed in the Ely Walker Lofts. A few weeks later, two teenagers were killed at a birthday party at Cupples Station Loft Apartments. Both were thought to happen at short-term rentals.

During the police department’s weekly crime update on Wednesday morning, Lieutenant Angela Dickerson said she doesn’t believe there’s an “ongoing problem” with violence in downtown-area short-term rental units. Police spokeswoman Evita Caldwell said the violence stems from a few “bad actors” who are “doing things they aren’t supposed to do or doing things they are not disclosing to [short-term rental] owners.”

In March, LaShana Lewis, chair of the St. Louis Downtown Neighborhood Association, told KMOV that the area was looking into restrictions on downtown rentals. “Given recent events … people seem to be now making sure that we have some sort of wrap-around [for] requirements for having [short-term rentals], especially in downtown,” Lewis said.

This story has been updated to remove all references to Airbnb on July 21 at 11:57 a.m.

1.) https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.riverfronttimes.com/news/100-shots-fired-between-downtown-st-louis-rentals-38139252%3Fmedia%3DAMP%2BHTML

Police: 100 shots fired in Downtown West neighborhood, 2 injured

One resident said the shots sounded like a machine gun and lasted for as long as two or three minutes.

Author: Alex Fees (KSDK), Elyse Schoenig

Published: 8:07 AM CDT July 20, 2022

Updated: 5:40 PM CDT July 20, 2022

ST. LOUIS — Dozens of shots were fired in St. Louis’ Downtown West neighborhood early Wednesday morning. One resident said the shots sounded like a machine gun and lasted for as long as two or three minutes.

Police said the shootings happened at around 12:30 a.m. near 20th Street and Washington Avenue. Police said their mobile reserve units reported hearing “a hundred” gunshots. Officers believe there were groups at separate parties involved and people were feuding and shooting at each other. 

Police said a 20-year-old woman was found in the area of 20th Street and Washington Avenue. Police said she was a passenger in a car that was hit by gunfire near the scene of the shooting. She was taken to the hospital for treatment. The driver was not injured.

Officers found another victim with a gunshot wound to his foot. He was also taken to a hospital for treatment. Police said he was also one of the suspects in the shooting.

5 On Your Side spoke to several people in the area who say they’re at the point of wanting to move out. “This honestly has to stop,” area business owner Nicole Jenkins said. “I grew up in the City of St. Louis and I’ve never seen it like this.” Jenkins’s concerns were echoed by many of the other area business owners. “It’s disheartening because you want your customers to feel safe,” Ashanti Moorehead said. Jenkins said she wants more action, like increased police presence, and more surveillance. “I think there needs to be officers on feet for what needs to take place and occur here,” Jenkins said. At the end of the day, she said her passion is serving her clients. She said if her safety and theirs are at risk, it’s time to take her passion and move it somewhere else.

“I caution the investigation is very preliminary at this juncture,” said St. Louis Police Lt. Mathew Karnoski. “There were two groups of individuals shooting at each other. We are in the midst of recovering dozens and dozens of shell casings and so far, we have recovered three firearms and arrested two people.”

Police said witnesses said the parties were hosted at Airbnb rentals.

A spokesperson for Airbnb noted there were no active listings or reservations at either property.

Karknoski said two handguns were recovered at the scene.  “One has been outfitted with a device to make it a fully automatic weapon, and we’ve also recovered a 223 AR-style pistol,” he said.

Police also seized a “large quantity” of suspected narcotics from the scene.

Downtown resident Dale Carney lives at the intersection. “I was almost asleep and heard the gunfire,” said Carney. “I basically dove under the bed. I called 911 right away and got through in a second, luckily. I told the lady 20th and Washington, gunfire. Lots of gunfire. When I was talking to them, it was still going off, so I’m sure they probably heard it over my phone.”

9.) https://www.ksdk.com/article/news/crime/shots-fired-shooting-airbnb-downtown-west-st-louis/63-116543b2-253b-488f-86d6-42599cf2f3cd

This is our police report:

There are literally 13 people aressted for our incident, ages ranging from 16 to 47!

Here’s some pictures where I marked where we were (mostly circles) in relation to where the most major shooting occured (the line on the sidewalk 4′ under our window and the x’s and *):

And I think the spaces between demographics and heading of “State of Missouri” in that police report means an officer (“special victim”) might have been involved.

From what I saw, it was probably cross fire, because the police were not close during the actual altercation. I think it would be plausible that one of the gunmen with his back to our loft, and shooting across our parking lot an another young person (also armed and shooting) may have clipped a police car or something like that.

The “x” are where police cars finally came to, after the shooting was mostly over. Maybe 1-3 shots happened after I saw police.

This is how Saint Louis news described our gun fight involving 13 people and possibly an officer:

It’s weird that a whole-ass, multi-person gun fight is being framed as cars being shot??! The one article (the ONLY one that talks specifically of the gun fight we witnessed) directly addressing 7-13 people shooting automatic weapons was reduced to ballistic damage on 15 cars. It is hardly accurate or reflective of what actually went on–and nobody cared to gather information or report what actually occurred.

I’ll post the Reddit chain about our gun fight in a different entry.

2.) https://fox2now.com/news/missouri/15-vehicles-damaged-overnight-during-rapid-gunfire-in-st-louis/

a “special victim” is defined as:

Downtown violence, 12-hour shifts, dwindling roster stressing St. Louis police

Some commanders have shared their feelings about the current state of affairs in memos obtained by 5 On Your Side.

Author: Christine Byers (KSDK)

Published: 5:56 PM CDT August 1, 2022

Updated: 6:26 PM CDT August 1, 2022

ST. LOUIS — Hundreds of shots fired, two innocent people caught in the crossfire, bullet holes in multiple cars and buildings downtown this past weekend.

All of it comes at a time when the city is forcing officers to work 12-hour overtime shifts, which have led to impassioned memos from commanders scrambling to fill cars as the police union estimates 102 officers have left the force so far this year.

Mayor Tishaura Jones stood with Maj. Renee Kriesmann during a weekly downtown safety briefing Monday, and cited a December 2020 study paid for by the Regional Business Commission when asked what her plan is to retain and recruit officers.

“(The study) showed St. Louis actually has enough officers, they just need to deploy them in the right way,” Jones said. “And so we have been looking at our deployment strategies, along with the Center for Policing Equity, to make sure that we can deploy our officers in a smarter way and also making sure that we’re deploying our alternative responses. “So we have Cops and Clinicians, we have a diversion program that takes a little bit of that burden off of officers responding to every call.” She also said St. Louis isn’t alone in its struggle to find officers, which she found out while attending an event sponsored by the National League of Cities. “There wasn’t one mayor at the table who also isn’t experiencing an officer shortage,” she said. “So it was not just St. Louis, it’s Tacoma, Washington, it’s Jackson, Mississippi, it’s Union, Georgia, it’s Savannah, Georgia, it’s Montgomery, Alabama. “These are all cities, including more that are experiencing an officer shortage in the midst of a nationwide labor shortage.” Maj. Renee Kriesmann outlined the weekend’s violence, and added: “It’s not a big secret that we are short some officers, however, what we’re trying to do is use the officers that we have to keep them visible.”

Internally, some commanders have shared their feelings about the current state of affairs in memos obtained by 5 On Your Side.

On July 13, Lieutenant Michael McAteer wrote to the Technological Solutions & Investigations staff, letting them know he would be calling on as many as 10 of them to return to the streets. The unit typically works at headquarters on technology-based policing at the Real Time Crime Center, monitoring cameras during incidents, ShotSpotter calls and other intelligence-based investigations. “I am afraid that I must ask your help in making some extremely difficult decisions as we move forward,” he wrote. “As a good supervisor, I am sure each of you has paid attention to the agency’s staffing crisis, and have anticipated the potential impact this might eventually have upon our division. What comes next cannot be of any great surprise at this point.”

He told his staff he met with Interim Chief Michael Sack during the first week in July.

“He was quite candid in sharing staffing issues: 124 officers removed from the manning table last year; down another 140 officers from there, minus another 75 on various forms of long-term leave/sick/limited duty. Altogether, it can be safely estimated approximately 340 fewer cops than the Department fielded just seven years ago. Sadly, I cannot say that we have reached bottom. As other agencies step up their recruitment efforts and fill their vacancies, it is only common sense that they would seek out seasoned officers from the St. Louis Police Department. Unfortunately, even with mandatory staffing requirements, the districts continue to struggle with properly staffing patrol vehicles. In essence, this staffing issue has now become an officer safety concern.” He assured his officers he argued to keep the staffing level in the Intelligence Unit as is, arguing the unit provides a high-tech approach to crime strategies, moving officers out of the unit will cost the department specialized training and experience and the unit’s stats speak for themselves. “While these arguments have prevailed in helping us avoid cuts in past situations, the scope of the department’s existing crisis most certainly overpowers everything,” he wrote.

Sack wrote to a memo to sergeants and officers Friday, in which he talked about crime summaries officers read every day. “What they don’t contain is equally important. That is, they don’t note the efforts each of you takes to serve. Incidents seem to pile up, one upon another. Call, followed by call, followed by report writing, maybe a booking and an email to the (Circuit Attorney’s Office) mailbox. Each day you come to work and go through your shift. Some shifts may seem like a repeat of the previous day. I know this is difficult for you. I know the 12-hour shifts are a strain – not only on you, but your families as well. We watch each week as our officer-peers leave for other agencies or retire. We encounter challenging situations and endure it all with professionalism and compassion. Our Department is not unlike others. Other agencies struggle to retain and attract officers. While we may not be able to control retention, we can control our response to the challenges we face each day. This is a difficult time for law enforcement. Please know that I appreciate your efforts and that what you do makes a difference in the lives of many in our community…I humbly ask you to continue to carry on as best you can, to work hard and do the right thing. The community is counting on each of us. Please keep focused on your service and perform your duties proudly and safely. Thank you for what you have done, and what you will continue to do as we serve in this challenging time.”

Barely more than 24 hours after that memo went out, officers at Central Patrol reported hearing about 100 gunshots just past 2 a.m. Saturday. Calls then came into 911 soon after reporting shots fired near the Architect Stunning Lofts in the 700 block of N. 21st Street. There, police found 15 cars damaged by gunfire and 50 shell casings.

A few hours later, two people were dropped off at a hospital with gunshot wounds, and police believe they were involved in the shooting.

At 3:14 a.m. Sunday, a 78-year-old woman and a 55-year-old man were struck by gunfire in the 1300 block of Convention. Both survived their injuries, but police found 100 shell casings at the scene along with nine apartment windows and five cars damaged by gunfire.

Police also reported between 200 to 300 juveniles congregated in and around a new event space called The Den in the 1300 block of Convention around that time.

When asked whether the 12-hour mandatory overtime shifts may continue in the fall months, she said department leaders evaluate that question every week. So do the officers.

3.) https://www.ksdk.com/article/news/local/st-louis-downtown-violence-police-department/63-927ca100-a7c5-40a9-b47a-6055745d9d8d

Cool’s Interview:

4.) https://www.kmov.com/2022/08/01/downtown-west-residents-asking-city-leaders-police-intervention-after-violent-weekend/

Teen shot, killed inside transit station on Monday in St. Louis

“It’s just so scary to think that this happened inside a bus and train station where so many people were,” said a woman whose brother tried to buy a ticket.

Author: Robert Townsend

Published: 5:30 AM CDT August 2, 2022

Updated: 5:30 AM CDT August 2, 2022

ST. LOUIS — “It’s scary to think that this would happen in a station like this where it’s really business,” said a concerned woman, who asked that her identity be released.

Witnesses told police in mid-afternoon Monday a mask and hoodie-wearing, young guy stormed through the front entrance at the St. Louis Gateway Transportation Center at south 15th and Poplar Streets near Enterprise Center. Within moments witnesses said the gunman shot a teenage boy in his head and killed him.

Police say the boy was sitting in the lobby.

“It was just so crazy. We saw the young man’s body just lying there on the floor. That could have been one of my family members. It’s just sickening,” the woman told 5 On Your Side’s Robert Townsend.

Multiple police officers rushed to the scene, put up crime scene tape and started talking to witnesses. The station was packed with dozens of travelers at the time. The woman, who spoke with 5 On Your Side, says her brother was trying to buy a train ticket just minutes before. She asked that her name not be revealed. “The witnesses said the young man who was murdered was sitting in a seat in the lobby. The guy came in the building, stood behind him and said ‘what’s up now,’ pulled a revolver out of his pants and shot him” said the woman.

Greyhound and Amtrak operate out of the station. Customers say ticket counters for both companies temporarily shut down after the deadly shooting.

It happened after a violent weekend in St. Louis.

Police say early Saturday morning two innocent people were caught in the crossfire when hundreds of gunshots were fired near north 21st Street.

Back at the St. Louis Gateway Transportation Center a frustrated Jhordy Sanchez couldn’t buy a bus ticket to Columbia. “I’m just going to go to the airport and catch a shuttle bus. This is such a big inconvenience It’s bad publicity for Greyhound and bad publicity for St. Louis,” said Sanchez.

Nobody else was hurt. Police quickly took a teenager into custody thanks to eagle-eyed witnesses. “These people were very helpful that when they saw that, they remembered and provided us with a lot of information,” said Major Ryan Cousins with the Metropolitan St. Louis Police Department. 

However, that’s little comfort for this weary woman. “I’m tired of the violence and I’m ready to get my family out of town and move,” she said.

Hours after the shooting, both Greyhound and Amtrak were once again selling tickets and running again.

5.) https://www.ksdk.com/article/news/crime/teen-shot-killed-inside-greyhound-station-st-louis-missouri/63-f9ee95fa-dd35-49ae-a77c-8ad9d4fc2cb7

Downtown leaders to city: Spend more to make downtown St. Louis safe

ST. LOUIS — Downtown business leaders want City Hall to spend more money making the area safer. And they say if that doesn’t happen, the whole city could suffer.

Officials with Greater St. Louis Inc., the region’s business development organization, said Thursday they want city leaders to use part of an unprecedented haul of federal aid to put up more surveillance cameras, upgrade street lights and take steps to slow down traffic on roads like Fourth Street, Broadway and Tucker Boulevard.

The request follows more than a year of problems with high-profile shootings, drag racing and late-night mayhem that has at times fostered a sense of lawlessness in the heart of the region. Residents have complained they can’t sleep at night. Some business owners have worried the bad headlines will scare clientele away, and others have considered relocating themselves.

“A catalytic infrastructure investment from our city government is critical to restoring confidence,” said Jason Hall, Greater St. Louis Inc.’s CEO.

A spokesman for Mayor Tishaura O. Jones was noncommittal Thursday. “We will absolutely take a look at their recommendations,” said the spokesman, Nick Desideri. “Our administration remains committed to improving public safety in downtown St. Louis.”

The city has worked to dampen downtown troubles: It shut down a troublesome nightspot on Washington Avenue last summer, reassigned more police to the area in the fall, and banned electric scooters in June after reports of roving bands of unsupervised youths. Jones also convened a public safety task force with city officials and business executives to monitor progress downtown and respond to problems.

But on Thursday, some of those same executives were asking for more.

Hall spent the first part of a press conference Thursday talking up downtown’s strengths as a hub for high-income employment and tourism, with a growing residential population and plenty of redevelopment potential. He also noted reasons for optimism: The new MLS stadium. The plan to revive the vacant Butler Brothers building. A tech startup’s announcement Wednesday it’s opening an office on troubled Washington Avenue for more than 200 employees.

But Hall also conceded the pandemic took a hefty toll. The number of jobs downtown has dwindled. Office vacancy rates are up. Sidewalks are crumbling, graffiti is covering buildings and high-voltage wiring is hanging out of light poles, Hall said. “We cannot compete as a global city if we allow this to be our front door,” he said.

8.) https://www.stltoday.com/business/local/downtown-leaders-to-city-spend-more-to-make-downtown-st-louis-safe/article_459821d7-5e58-510d-b9e7-9ec3a4bf398c.html

Police investigate after man was shot near Downtown St. Louis

By Kelsee Ward

Published: Aug. 15, 2022 at 6:12 AM CDT

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) – Police are investigating after a man was shot near Downtown St. Louis early Monday morning.

The shooting happened near Washington Avenue and North 18th Street at around 3:14 a.m. Police said the man was shot in the chest when they arrived on the scene.

The investigation is ongoing.

Copyright 2022 KMOV. All rights reserved.

11.) https://www.kmov.com/2022/08/15/police-investigate-after-man-was-shot-near-downtown-st-louis/

St. Louis City police, public safety leaders address recent uptick in homicides

By Gabriela Vidal

Published: Aug. 22, 2022 at 8:46 PM CDT

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) – As summer winds down, the City of St. Louis Is facing a growing crime trend in homicides. “Unfortunately, we were slightly ahead of where we were last year,” said Public Safety Director Dr. Dan Isom. The City of St. Louis currently has 129 homicides. At this same time last year, the city recorded 121 homicides. The last four happened on Sunday night in a span of five hours. “Any homicide, any loss of life is distressing, but when it happens in such a short period of time, [it] is certainly cause for concern,” said Isom. “Also, in addition to the fact that we don’t find any connection between the four.” Isom said St. Louis police believe the homicide that happened off Grand and Broadway was the result of an altercation between several people, and police have some potential leads on who the suspects could be.

During Monday’s downtown public safety briefing, Isom addressed questions as to why St. Louis is experiencing an uptick in violent crime, he attributed it to several factors. “One, we’ve had a serious explosion in these stolen KIAs and Hyundai’s, which I think offer availability for mobile crimes, and they are being used in certain violent crimes,” said Isom. “This is one issue that has changed and accelerated in the last month or so.” Two, he says it could also be the rise in dangerous weapons on the street. “Meaning guns that can be transitioned to fully automatic. Of course, a gun that is fully automatic is going to be way more lethal than one that’s not,” said Isom. “I think our primary focus right now is enforcement in trying to slow down the violence that’s happening in this community through physical presence, through intelligence, through trying to close these cases as quickly as possible to hold people accountable.”

As of August 20, only 54 percent of homicides have been solved in the City of St. Louis.

“It has been reported that our numbers are down somewhat significantly from last year as well in terms of officers,” said Isom. “However, we have been doing the 12 hour shifts to compensate for that.”

News 4 checked in with the St. Louis Police Officers Association on what they think has contributed to the rise in recent violent crime. President Jay Schroder believes the ongoing shortage of police officers is among the issues that has taken a toll on the community. Right now, he says the department is about 300 positions short. “We’re drastically underpaid compared to departments all around. We used to be one of the better paying departments and now we’re $20,000 dollars behind our people in St. Louis County, so we’re not competitive. We’re not keeping up with the rest of the folks around us,” said Schroder. “It’s going to be a team effort for everyone. it’s going to have to be the police department and the city, they’re going to have to get behind their policemen, to pay their policemen. And they’re going to have to show the guys that ride the streets every day that people actually care.”

Earlier this June, SLMPD institute 12-hour mandatory shifts on the weekends for police across the city to address some of the growing crime trends over the summer, but that policy is expected to end at the end of the month. However, Isom says the city’s focus will still be having police presence in high crime areas. “We will continue to look at personnel and our manpower and try to adjust it to the areas we think will have the most impact,” said Isom. “We have worked officers very hard for the last couple of months working 12-hour shifts, and it certainly has helped, but we have to recognize that we have to give officers a break as well.”

“I’m really hoping that in St. Louis we’re able to say from this point on, we will begin to scale up what works, because we can get out in front of this,” said James Clark, Vice President of Public Safety for the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis. Clark tells News 4 that for years he has been saying the solution is prioritizing education and outreach in communities and homes where the crime is taking place. “It starts with the neighborhoods, and it starts with resources in the neighborhood,” said Clark.

Yet, amid violence this past weekend, there was a new symbol of hope on display in the city. A peace sign is now up on display on the wall off 4230 Manchester Avenue in the Grove. Kyle Holbrook, a Miami-based muralist who created the artwork, tells News 4 this is part of an anti-gun violence initiative he started over a year ago. “It’s bringing awareness to the issue, an epidemic that we are in as a city and as a country of gun violence, but it’s not anti-gun,” said Holbrook. St. Louis marks the 42nd city he’s been to in the country to create one of these murals, and he hopes to reach all 50 states by sometime next year. It is especially important to him after losing 46 friends to gun violence over the course of his life. “And the intent is families will know and friends of lost loved ones will know that this is done with their lost loved one in mind,” said Holbrook.

Copyright 2022 KMOV. All rights reserved.

10.) https://www.kmov.com/2022/08/23/st-louis-city-police-public-safety-leaders-address-recent-uptick-homicides/

Article Weblinks:

1.) https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.riverfronttimes.com/news/100-shots-fired-between-downtown-st-louis-rentals-38139252%3Fmedia%3DAMP%2BHTML

2.) https://fox2now.com/news/missouri/15-vehicles-damaged-overnight-during-rapid-gunfire-in-st-louis/

3.) https://www.ksdk.com/article/news/local/st-louis-downtown-violence-police-department/63-927ca100-a7c5-40a9-b47a-6055745d9d8d

4.) https://www.kmov.com/2022/08/01/downtown-west-residents-asking-city-leaders-police-intervention-after-violent-weekend/

5.) https://www.ksdk.com/article/news/crime/teen-shot-killed-inside-greyhound-station-st-louis-missouri/63-f9ee95fa-dd35-49ae-a77c-8ad9d4fc2cb7

6.) https://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/st-louis-hopes-solution-to-summer-crime-is-combo-of-enforcement-youth-programs/article_b50b0c28-9379-582a-afff-77077a3d8763.html

7.) https://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/downtown-ambassadors-in-st-louis-act-as-eyes-and-ears-to-spot-trouble-offer-help/article_bdd90261-0d06-52d4-a51f-96ae414cf2bd.html

8.) https://www.stltoday.com/business/local/downtown-leaders-to-city-spend-more-to-make-downtown-st-louis-safe/article_459821d7-5e58-510d-b9e7-9ec3a4bf398c.html

9.) 9.) https://www.ksdk.com/article/news/crime/shots-fired-shooting-airbnb-downtown-west-st-louis/63-116543b2-253b-488f-86d6-42599cf2f3cd

10.) https://www.kmov.com/2022/08/23/st-louis-city-police-public-safety-leaders-address-recent-uptick-homicides/

11.) https://www.kmov.com/2022/08/15/police-investigate-after-man-was-shot-near-downtown-st-louis/

Gun Fight Timeline of Landlord Action

4 Oct

Sat, July 30, around 2 AM (time of gun fight):

I sent this right after I spoke with 911, the shooting was still happening as I wrote and sent this text:

(13 hours and 39 min after gun fight) I didn’t hear back at all so at 3:39 PM I sent some questions to the landlord.

No response.

Sat, July 30, 11:56 AM (10 hours after gun fight):

I didn’t hear anything back by text. I thought I should get it in more formal writing so I sent the landlord an email detailing the event and asking for an update as well as action:

He never responded to me, personally. So we have no idea what happened, what caused a shooting, if anyone of the shooters lived, or rented an Airbnb at our loft, if the shooters were still around…. We don’t know how good the camera footage was, if it was turned over to police, or even if anyone cared enough to do an investigation.

Wed, Aug 3, 2022 (4 days after the gun fight):

We could see a lot of papers on a door down our hallway. But we weren’t brave enough to go read what they said. As you can see, that door is between 2 other apartments. And it’s past the stairwell, where you don’t need to ever go, as it dead-ends. So if we crept over there someone might see us being nosy and there wouldn’t really be a plausible explanation for being over there.

But the orange color made me think it’s possibly an eviction notice.

Silence from the landlord for 6 days following the gun fight right outside our windows.

Friday, Aug 5, 2022 (6 days after the gun fight):

This is the first we’ve heard from the landlord after a major incident

Same day:

Mon, Aug 8, 2022 (9 days after gun fight):

The voice sounded so angry and possibly violent that she left the full trash bag out in the hallway and went back inside our locked loft!

Thurs, Aug 11, 2022 (12 days after the gun fight):

The landing was full of trash and furniture. It looked like someone cleaned out their apartment. Did one of the shooters live right on our floor? The apartment that had the orange sign on the door was open and maintenance was in there cleaning.

AirBnB

13 Aug

After the gunfight under our windows I wondered if someone might have an errant AirBnB renter that had a party that went south. It had never occurred to me before to even think residential apartments might offer up short-term rentals. Because we’re renters. No lease I’ve ever signed allows subletting, which is what short-term rentals technically would be. But the news talked about over 100 shots fired down the street from here, and said the culprits were 2 warring AirBnB parties. Like, parties as in groups of people having fun, not parties in the court of law sense. So I looked on the website, and boy did I find out our lofts have an AirBnB situation! I could tell each listing that was definitely from our loft building because we have distinct orange-colored kitchen cabinets.

At first I thought the landlord must not know about these residents gone rouge. OUR lease is very specific that we are the only 2 allowed to live in our apartment. It limits guests to family and limits the amount of time they can stay here. There is no subleasing permitted on the lease we signed. And I just assumed it was like that for everyone in the lofts… Because what a liability! If something happened, the landlord could ultimately be responsible since he owns the building. It would cause a legal entanglement to evict a resident for something their AirBnB subtenant did.

After the gunfight I emailed and texted the landlord asking if any of the participants lived in our lofts or rented one of the many Airbnbs listed.

positions of me (circle) and people with modified weapons

He ghosted me.

July 31st I counted 10 listings that showed the building’s distinct orange kitchens (note how many guests each ad has listed for one loft):

In regards to the number of guests allowed for each individual loft, you can see that parties are actively encouraged by the hosts. This is not exclusively a high end vacationer thing-though at these price-points, it’s that too. These hosts have 6 guests listed frequently, which is NOT the size of any loft in this building. They are trying to solicit partiers to split the high cost, knowing damn well the nuisance and risk parties will introduce to the building.

As you can see, this is not a new thing. There were many “super-hosts” among those offering up units for short-term rental. And it wasn’t a seldom occurrence, as many of the hosts had 30-40-50 reviews from people who had already stayed in our building.

Annnd you can see in the above examples (not exhaustive) that there are actual businesses offering up our loft’s units on AirBnB. In my opinion, a lot of the hosts looked like they had their units professionally staged and the photos were magazine quality. If an individual did that, then I guess they are in the right business. But also, maybe this is big-business since travel companies were sometimes listed as host. How does that even occur? The landlord HAS to be in on it if businesses are using the building. He is absolutely taking extra deposits, or higher rental fees, or a direct cut of the AirBnB profits to allow that.

You can also see the money being made on these AirBnB stays. For the 10 listings of our address, the average per night stay cost $140! I couldn’t even believe it. So that’s precisely why we could afford to live in such a nice building: Crime + the real money is being made on all of the AirBnBs.

On Aug 9 there were 14 listings, including 4 new listings (one of the listings was for 2 different apt) from “J.C.”

And I noticed the pictures on these listings were the exact same pictures that were on apartments.com and renters.com etc, etc… Like the landlord was in on it.

And of course he would have to be, because we have gates and the doors and elevator requires a key fob to get in. How would all these AirBnB people be getting around the property if the landlord wasn’t assisting the host? Ooohhhh, all those things hanging on the gate are a means of entry! UPS and Amazon and other frequent people use them to come in without the key fob. So the literal 17 on outside gates are for the AirBnB people to get in also.

So if 15 units are posted on AirBnB for short-term rentals that means 23% of the units in our lofts are hosting AirBnb!

At first I was mad. Because that’s egregious. And it endangers all of us with actual leases since AirBnB does not do background checks. Also, it renders are gated property and key-fob entry useless. Random people are trapesing in and out of here every weekend. And one legitimate AirBnB can invite 60 friends into the building, and no one’s checking these people in any way. We need a door man checking badges and IDs and confiscating weapons and drugs! It’s really not safe for current leasors, and it’s very unethical to draw people here from outside the community who don’t know what they’re stepping into. These people are just on vacation, a lot of them, and some have kids and stuff. They’re just walking around unaware that a whole ass gunfight broke out. Right on the property. And last weekend. There really should be some kind of mandatory disclosures. Landlords should be required to inform tenants of the scope of AirBnBs allowed. The AirBnB landlords should be required to disclose safety concerns to potential short-term leasers.

Then, I thought about buying a building in a rough area of town. An area that is trying to revitalize, that has many empty warehouses, construction, drag racing, people gathering, and random gunfights. The locals probably know to stay away, so it must be difficult to fill all of the units in the building. And what a waste to have a quarter of the building sit empty! So I can understand trying to recoup some money and get people into those units.

Saint Louis isn’t really doing anything to crack down on AirBnBs, and the property owner is obviously making money from it, so I don’t think it’s going to change any time soon. I didn’t realize that’s yet another thing I need to research when looking for housing–are AirBnBs listed for that property??!