ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)– St. Louis Police are stepping up patrols in areas, mostly in the northern part of the city, where seventeen people were shot in seven different incidents overnight Monday into Tuesday. Officials say in all but one of the shootings, at least one victim had connections to the gunman.
Outside St. Louis University Hospital Tuesday afternoon, members of some victims’ families were gathered, visibly upset by all that was happening. Among them, Faye Whitlock.
“It’s like my whole heart just stopped, she said. “I stopped breathing cuz I couldn’t believe it was my daughters.”
One of those daughters was walking into their home on Warren when police say the gunman came around the corner, chased her and a friend, then kicked in the door of the house, opening fire and hitting five people. Whitlock was at work when her son called to tell her what happened.
“He said, mom, I can’t stop Shakila from bleeding. I’m like what did you say? What? What? And he said she got shot. So I threw my phone down and I just couldn’t think, I couldn’t do nothing.”
Whitlock claims to have no idea why the attack happened, but says the gunman was indiscriminate.
“They didn’t care who was in the house. They was just shooting. They did not care.”
That was one of two shootings in which five people were hit. The other happened about 10:30 Monday night on Highland. Most of the shootings were in north city.
It was there, at the North Patrol headquarters, where night shift officers were being told Tuesday afternoon at roll call that guns are their focus. Police say a major concern is the friends and family of the seventeen victims, and what they might do in response to the shootings.
“We’re always concerned about retaliation,” Lt. Col. Al Adkins said. “Especially when we don’t have someone in custody and warrants been issued on them. So yeah, our belief on incidents like this is the thought of retaliation is high.”
Adkins says there may be gang overtones to some of the violence, but describes motives in the attacks as being all over the map.
“There are drug overtones in one. There are individuals who haven’t learned how to communicate with each other to solve differences on others. There are things dealing with prior intimate relationships on another.”
At City Hall, Mayor Francis Slay says he was in contact with the police command staff early, addressing what to do next. He said his biggest frustration is being told that witnesses in some of these cases are not cooperating.
“I’m not gonna tolerate this,” Slay said. “The police are not gonna tolerate this. And the people of St. Louis shouldn’t have to tolerate it. And those who have information about these crimes should come forward and talk about it. You can even call Crimestoppers. Call Crimestoppers if you don’t want to be identified.
That Crimestoppers number is 866-371-TIPS (8467).
No one was killed in any of the shootings, and none of the injuries appear to be life threatening.