A shootout early Sunday at a Minnesota bar apparently involving several gunmen left one person dead, at least 14 injured and prompted panic and “madness” amid the hail of bullets, St. Paul police said.
No arrests were made and no motive had been determined, Saint Paul Chief of Police Todd Axtell said.
“My heart breaks for the woman who was killed, her loved ones and everyone else who was in that bar this morning,” Axtell said in a statement. “In an instant, they found themselves caught in a hellish situation.”
Axtell said multiple 911 callers frantically begged for help after more than a dozen people were shot inside the Seventh Street Truck Park bar. He said officers responded at about 12:15 a.m. local time to find a “chaotic scene” with 15 people suffering gunshot wounds.
Officers worked with good Samaritans to help the wounded while securing the scene and making sure it was safe for medics, Axtell said. Preliminary information from the scene indicated there were several shooters, he said.
A woman in her 20s was pronounced dead, the 32nd homicide of the year in St. Paul, a city of 300,000 people. The city is on pace to exceed last year’s total of 34 homicides, which tied a record that stood for almost 30 years.
“We have a very busy bar, a lot of people just enjoying themselves and then we had a few individuals who decided to pull out guns and pull the trigger indiscriminately, with no regard for human life,” police spokesman Steve Linders said. “And I think about the poor woman who was just out enjoying herself. One minute she’s dancing, smiling and laughing, and the next she’s dying in her friend’s arms. It’s nothing short of a tragedy.”
The Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office will conduct an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death and positively identify her. The wounded were transported to area hospitals for treatment but were expected to survive, Axtell said.
Investigators put out a call for anyone with information to come forward. A team of homicide investigators were working with patrol officers, the forensics services unit, the video management unit and others to piece together what led to the shooting. Axtell said.
The scene was being processed for evidence and a shooting reconstruction conducted. The victims were being interviewed for clues, Axtell said.
“I want them to know that we have the best investigators in the country, and we won’t stop until we find the people responsible for this madness,” he said. “We will do our part to hold them accountable.”