Teens With Guns: Duluth Leaders Talk About Why It’s Happening More Often

DULUTH, Minn. — Police and community leaders say they’re concerned about the rise in gun violence in Duluth, and teens are contributing.

This summer, teens were involved in a shooting in Canal Park, a homicide near Endion Park, and just a few days ago, an armed robbery at a meetup to sell a phone.

The police chief, the Duluth Public Schools superintendent, and a longtime leader of a youth organization weigh in.

“It can’t be just the police.,” Duluth police chief Mike Tusken said. “So many times society looks to police to solve these problems. Many times I tell people, by the time police are engaged, we are really downstream from where the problems are.”

Tusken says everyone needs to be a part of this conversation.

“It has to happen with people in the community that are going to invest in children,” he said.

That includes schools.

Duluth Public Schools superintendent John Magas says that campuses are re-tooling their approach to support students who are struggling.

“Most schools that have higher rates of poverty also have higher rates of trauma, and I think it’s important for us to invest as deeply as possible in restorative practices and social-emotional learning,” Magas said.

Programs like the Spirit Valley Youth Center offer structure to kids and teens as well, but program director Angelo Simone says that there aren’t enough centers in town.

He adds that for decades, youth and rec centers have been slowly disappearing.

And with them, healthier activities, like sports, to keep kids and teens out of trouble.

“I think our whole city has forgotten where they came from and these kids, they’ve been without for so long, they don’t even know, some of these kids don’t even know what hockey is,” Simone says.

Meanwhile, Chief Tusken says police are trying to get guns out of the wrong hands, and parents are key.

“Track what your kids are doing, who they’re hanging out with, when you hear information about kids, other kids that are being involved in criminal activity, let us know.”

You can report anonymous tips to Duluth police at this link.

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