Duluth Mayor, Police Chief Address 14 Recent Shootings

As of Thursday, the Duluth Police Department has faced 24 shootings so far in 2020 with more than a dozen happening since July compared to the 22 shootings for all of 2019.

DULUTH, Minn. – Police Chief Mike Tusken and Mayor Emily Larson addressed a concerning rise in violence at a press conference Thursday after 14 shooting incidents within the past two months resulting in injuries and a sense of fear for some.

As of Thursday, the Duluth Police Department has faced 24 shootings so far in 2020 with more than a dozen happening since July compared to the 22 shootings for all of 2019.

Chief Tusken and Mayor Larson stress the shooting incidents are not random and involve people unfortunately choosing deadly weapons to solve disputes among each other.

“Anytime we see gunshots ring out in our neighborhoods it’s a cause for concern. Without question it shakes us to our core,” said Chief Tusken.

Since July 11, 14 shootings have happened with 3 arrests and 3 firearms recovered as evidence.

Chief Tusken says his investigators are on the hunt to make more arrests.

“We have suspects, we have people who are arrested and we have people of identified or we’ve identified as people of interest that we have not yet been able to build a case successful to prosecute,” says Chief Tusken.

He also believes most of the suspects and victims are known to each other and most are local.

While he can’t go into details about open investigations, he did say these types of shootings often involve other illegal activities.

In some cases, over the past two months, the shootings are retaliation to past shootings.

These are targeted shootings and by all accounts, that’s all they are is targeted and yes if you’re not running in those circles, the likelihood that you will be engaged in violence is very low. Also important to note that if you have errant shots there is a risk to people in the immediate area,” says Chief Tusken.

The violent crimes unit has pulled in officers from other areas of the department to assist in solving the overload of shootings, some of which have happened quickly, from vehicle to vehicle.

Chief Tusken has increased patrols in hot spot areas to also bring a sense of security back to people living in neighborhoods where shots have rung out.

“We’re going to have people out in these neighborhoods doing canvassing doing door-to-doors to make people feel safe so that they feel we see them we hear them that we are here to help them,” says Tusken.

Meanwhile, Mayor Emily Larson says the city is taking the uptick in gun violence seriously and says economic and family stress from the pandemic could be contributing factors.

“We know that people are sadly choosing to end disputes or resolve disputes with violence and guns it does feel like we are at our threshold at stress as individuals and neighborhoods and communities,” says Mayor Larson.

Chief Tusken wants to community to know the police are there to help them.

“Knowing we have those good people out there who are working day and night to keep people safe should help people safer in their communities and neighborhoods,” said Chief Tusken.

According to the DPD, two of the three guns recovered so far from the crime scenes were stolen.

He reminds gun owners to be smart about storing guns safely and not in your car that could be broken into by people up to no good.

Also, storing guns safely keeps children safe and away from them as well.

The full press conference can be seen here.

Categories: News, News – Latest News