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Saturday Night Club Shooting Latest Downtown Minneapolis Incident

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- As city leaders discuss strategies to address downtown violence, an overnight shooting in that area has left one man in the hospital.

It happened just after bar close on the 400 block of Third Avenue North in the Warehouse District. Police said a 26-year-old man was shot multiple times, but suffered non-life threatening injuries.

This isn't the only downtown shooting in recent months.

In January, two people were shot on the 300 block of Third Avenue North. One person died in that incident. Twenty-four hours earlier, three people were shot near 3rd Street North and 1st avenue North.

In December, two people were shot at Hennepin near 4th Street, almost the same exact area where four people were shot in October.

The bright lights sights and sounds of downtown's Warehouse District all serve as reminders of how the neighborhood is a popular spot to visit. But timing is everything.

"As a woman I can walk my dog alone at night in this area and feel fine. That's maybe not something I would do a little closer to where the nightlife goes longer through the night," said Morgan Jones, who lives on the far north end of the district.

The corridor that concerns her is along the light rail station near Hennepin Avenue and 1st Avenue. It's only a few blocks from Azul Night Club & Lounge, where police say someone was shot several times in the back parking lot just after two in the morning.

"Some things are out of our control, but some things we do have control over," said V.J. Smith with Mad Dads.

The group helps at risk youth, but also has small teams working to keep the peace downtown.

"We've been stopping fights every day, every weekend. We stopped three last night and so we've always been a part of that," he said.

When asked what it's like knowing his teams can't make it to every fight or problem around downtown, such as the recent shooting, he replied, "I feel like if we save three lives, that's a good thing. It's better than saving zero lives."

But members of the Warehouse District Business Association (WDBA) would like to see more being done, specifically from the city.

"I would describe it as extremely disappointing," said Joanne Kaufman, WDBA executive director.

Kaufman has sent emails to city leaders outlining shootings in her district over the past few years, pleading for a safety plan.

"We have heard from (Minneapolis police) that there are going to be more officers out. We've heard several things from the police but we've not heard anything from the city itself," she said.

And with the lights above Target Field ready burn bright for the next six months, meaning more crowds, she's hoping to get that answer soon. Despite that, she still feels the district is a fun and safe place overall to visit.

"It's unfortunate that what stays in people's minds is what happens at 2:30 in the morning," she said. "I suggest that people go home earlier than they might otherwise but I would hope that they keep in mind these things do happen much later at night."

Late last week, the mayor's office claimed there are strategies underway to address problems that can arise when the bars let out.

Last Thursday, the city unveiled a plan to make Hennepin Avenue safer from 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. through a stronger police presence.

"We have a lot of work to do. And it's going to take more than just one plan," said Smith.

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