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'My Heart Just Sunk': Youth Club Reeling After Another Child Shot In Minneapolis

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Community members are once again grasping for solutions after someone shot another young person in Minneapolis. A 15-year-old boy was listed in critical condition Tuesday evening after being shot near a south Minneapolis park, where his sibling was playing in a youth football game.

Minneapolis police say officers were called at about 6:45 p.m. to the intersection of 40th Street East and Columbus Avenue South, near Phelps Field Park. There, the victim was found suffering from a gunshot wound to the abdomen. He was soon rushed to HCMC for surgery.

A Twin Cities North Football League youth game was going on at the park between fourth graders from Minneapolis and Brooklyn Center. One of the coaches says the victim is a sibling of a Brooklyn Center player.

John Swanson, the commissioner of the TCNFL, told WCCO, "All of the information I have received indicates the incident had nothing to do with the game but rather was an unrelated random armed robbery, as is unfortunately occurring all too often these days."

When the shooting happened, the Southside Village Boys and Girls Club on the other side of the park was getting ready to close for the night.

"We allowed people to come and make a safe haven where they could," said Mark Graves, the club's director. "Just a wide range of emotions, but my heart just sunk, man."

Graves knows there's no single answer to ending gun violence like this. He's committed though to providing a safe place, a caring ear, and a watchful eye for young people.

"[The kids] know they're here in a place where people love them," Graves said. "They know they're protected and they're able to let go of some of the things that might have affected them before they got here."

For kids who have witnessed violence, Graves says it can be very tough.

"A lot of times they have learned how to hide those feelings," he said. "We can't give up. These young people, they're our investment."

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