City leader has personal connection to Penrose shooting victims

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ST. LOUIS - St. Louis city leaders shared their reactions to Monday night's deadly shooting in north St. Louis. Five men were shot in a single incident in the Penrose neighborhood, three of them died.

Police Chief John Hayden has released limited information about the incident and the investigation. Fox 2/News 11 caught up with him at a neighborhood safety meeting in south St. Louis on Tuesday (May 14).

"Of course, we're very disturbed when incidents like last nights occur, but I just want people to know that we're working very hard to make them safer," said Hayden.

Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed has called the victims' family close friends for 20 years. Several of the victims are related. Reed knows the aunt of four of the victims and the mother of one of the victims.

"Every last one of them had kids," said Reed about the victims. "Every last one of them, and now those families are all broken up."

The shooting happened in what's known as "Hayden's Rectangle," an area where the chief has vowed to focus resources and crack down on crime. According to city leaders, violent crime in that area is down 15 percent from last year.

"The numbers would say that progress has been made, but I'm going to tell you right now, the numbers don't matter when it's your family member or your friend or someone that you know who's a victim of crime," said Mayor Lyda Krewson.

Reed agrees, which is why he said he has been urging Krewson and Hayden to consider implementing Operation Ceasefire, a model that has cut crime up to 50 percent in other cities. St. Louis passed on the plan.

"While other cities across America are leveraging these new technologies and doing this stuff and driving their numbers down, we're sitting here and our numbers are staying here, and we're saying 'Well, if we can move them a little bit, that will make a difference,' No, it does not. It does not make a difference to this family that I just finished sitting with," said Reed.

In the meantime, John Collins-Muhammad, the alderman of the 21st ward where Penrose is located, wants more police officers patrolling the area.

"We have to make sure that we're putting the best officers on our streets when it comes to protecting neighborhoods that are often neglected," he said.

Jimmie Edwards, Director of Public Safety for St. Louis, said the city's police department is short 120-140 police officers.

Hayden said investigators are reviewing forensic evidence, and they hope to update the public about what happened in Monday night's incident in the next day or so.

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