Gun Violence

Christina Arzate, right, listens to a panel of community mentors talk about gun violence Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

About 30 Washington University students are competing for funds to develop projects to reduce gun violence this weekend.

It’s the latest effort in the university’s on-going gun violence initiative launched almost a year and a half ago.

“We want more student involvement in this public health issue. And also we want them to come up with innovative ideas on how we can solve gun violence since usually (the ideas come) from researchers,” said initiative coordinator Poli Rijos.

Kenrich Henderson gazes at a portrait of her daughter Jamyla Bolden. The painting is a gift from St. Louis artist Jane Martin and an organization called Faces Not Forgotten that produces portraits of children killed by gun violence.
Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

Kendric Henderson was lying on the bed with her daughter Jamyla Bolden, doing homework, when bullets burst through the window of their Ferguson home. The gunshots killed the 9-year-old and wounded her mother.

Nearly a year later, the pain is still agonizing. But local artists are trying to help keep the good memories alive for Jamyla’s loved ones. They're also helping dozens of other families around the country.

Jacara Sproaps became principal of Dunbar Elementary School in July 2013.
Provided | St. Louis Public Schools

Updated July 15 with suspect’s name, charges — St. Louis Public Schools has lost a second educator to violence in less than a year. Dunbar Elementary School Principal Jacara Sproaps was killed Wednesday night in south St. Louis.

Police said Thursday Sproaps, 38, was shot and killed outside her home in the Gravois Park neighborhood by a man angry with her over their past relationship.

Her boyfriend, Maurice Partlow, was also killed, and her 18-year-old son is in critical but stable condition at an area hospital.One of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police officers who responded to the scene was grazed in the shin by a bullet.

A file photo of North City Urgent Care, at 6113 Ridge Avenue in north St. Louis City.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

Violence in north St. Louis is prompting one of the few urgent care clinics in the area to close on the weekends.

A gun battle outside the doors of North City Urgent Care on a Saturday last month was the last straw, said Dr. Sonny Sagar, its medical director. The clinic, at 6113 Ridge Ave., sits in the Hamilton Heights neighborhood and is one of just a few urgent care facilities in the area.

Lindy Drew sits at a bus stop on North Grand Boulevard. with St. Louis resident Bryan Gordon after approaching him about her social media photo project, Humans of St. Louis.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis photographer Lindy Drew spends her days talking to strangers.

If they’re up for it, Drew asks questions like, “What’s the nicest thing anyone has said to you lately?” before asking to take their picture. If you’re on Facebook, you’ve probably seen her project: Humans of St. Louis, also known as HOSTL (pronounced “hostile”).

Free gun locks will be given out Friday at City Hall in St. Louis
M Glasgow | Flickr

Free gun locks will be given out Friday at City Hall in St. Louis.

The event is part of the “Lock it for Love” program organized by Women’s Voices Raised for Social Justice.

Marcis Curtis, an artist and co-founder of Citizen Carpentry, organizes sticky notes during a brainstorming session at the Community Reaction Lab.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

Two groups of St. Louisans took on a challenge this weekend that many in the region have spent years trying to address: Find a way to reduce gun violence in the community.

And there was a catch. The groups had just 24 hours to create a proposal.

Rep. Stacey Newman (left) and St. Louis circuit attorney Jennifer Joyce (center) listen to Jackson County prosecutor Jean Peters Baker as Baker announces her support for Newman's legislation on February 29, 2016.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

The prosecutors in Missouri's two largest cities are joining with pediatricians to support legislation that would make it a crime to leave a loaded weapon accessible to children.

Rep. Stacey Newman, D-Richmond Heights, is the sponsor of the bill, which makes it a felony if a gun owner "knowingly fails to secure a readily available, loaded deadly weapon in the presence of a child less than 17 years of age." A weapon would be considered secure if it had a functioning trigger lock, was kept in a safe, or was unloaded.

In 2015, on average there is more than one mass shooting per day in the United States—and the impact of that is felt across the country. From the terror attacks in Charleston, Paris, Colorado Springs and San Bernardino to shootings closer to home, it is hard for the topic to stay off the minds of Americans these days.

vigil gun violence st. john's remember reflect respond
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

When he heard that his son had been shot, Rev. Ken McKoy felt the 15-minute drive to the hospital was the longest he has ever taken. His son’s life flashed before his eyes.

A white cross for every homicide in St. Louis and St. Louis County this year line the lawn of Mount Beulah Missionary Baptist Church Dec. 6, 2015.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Valerie Dent remembers the exact time her sons 31-year-old James and 24-year-old Steven were shot and killed Sept. 5, 2014.  It was 7:45 a.m. when James, a father of two, and his brother had just stepped of the bus they rode home from work on a day that saw six gun homicides within 18 hours.

As homicides continue to tick up in St. Louis, many officials say gun violence should be approached as a public health issue.
Tony Webster | Flickr

The nationwide debate about gun control, mass shootings, and violent crime was once again jump-started in the wake of recent massacres at a county center in California and at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado that left several people dead.

But here in St. Louis, officials are concerned with a different type of gun violence — the kind that happens almost routinely and usually takes one life at a time.

St. Louis International Film Festival

Nick Berardini was just a journalism student at the University of Missouri when he was sent out on an assignment that would impact his life and his career as a filmmaker. He was sent to Moberly, Missouri to report on a man who died while in police custody after being pulled over for drunk driving.

Four hand guns on a red cloth.
St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department Facebook

St. Louis is a step closer to accepting a grant from the federal government to help battle gun violence in the city.

The Board of Aldermen's public employees committee on Thursday authorized the city to accept a $417,512 SMART Prosecution grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, part of the Justice Department. The full Board of Aldermen must also approve the grant.

Flickr | alancleaver_2000

St. Louis police confirmed the city's 160th homicide earlier this week, a number that surpasses last year's murder total. 

Mayor Francis Slay, St. Louis
Jim Howard / St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis is not alone in confronting an increase in violent crime, but what little comfort that may provide city officials is tempered by the fact that there are relatively few resources readily available to help cities across the U.S. confront their own rise in gun and drug related violence.

Mayors from 20 cities along with chiefs of police, an array of federal law enforcement officials, and academics met in Washington on Wednesday for a Department of Justice sponsored summit on violent crime.  St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay and Police Chief Samuel Dotson, both attended the day-long session to share ideas, concerns and to make appeals to federal officials for assistance.

Erica Jones, right, and Theodis Rush, left, listen to a press conference to announce more money for an anti-gun-violence program run out of Better Family Life. Jones’s 24-year-old daughter, Whitney Brown, was killed in a drive-by shooting in August.
Nassim Benchaabane|St. Louis Public Radio

On Monday morning, St. Louis detectives began work on the city’s 145th homicide case since January. The body of a 25-year-old man was found in a car with multiple gunshot wounds in the Mark Twain neighborhood, an area less than two miles square that has already experienced six murders in the past nine months. 

St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson said stolen guns are part of what's causing an uptick in crime in the city.
Courtesy of St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department Facebook

As of August, homicides in St. Louis are up 60 percent compared with last year, according to recently released statistics from the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. 

Rev. Ken McKoy of the Progressive A.M.E Zion Church organizes NightLIFE walks three times a week in two north St. Louis neighborhoods.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

Three nights a week, between the hours of 10 p.m. and 2 a.m., half a dozen St. Louis clergy members walk the streets in a line.

Led by Rev. Ken McKoy of the Progressive A.M.E Zion Church, they visit the Fountain Park and Lewis Place neighborhoods to act as a “ministry of presence,” as McKoy calls it. It’s a violence prevention effort that began on a grassroots level and is now on the cusp of expanding. McKoy calls it NightLIFE.

Jamyla Bolden's photo for a GoFundMe site created to pay her funeral costs. A private donor later stepped forward to pay the full costs.
Cropped | Provided by the Bolden family

Over the weekend, the family of Jamyla Bolden buried their daughter — a bubbly fourth grader who loved to sing, dance and spend time with her friends.

Interim Ferguson Police Chief Andre Anderson announces the arrest of De'Eris Brown for the shooting death of nine-year-old Jamyla Bolden Thursday Aug. 27, 2015 at the Ferguson Police Department.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

An O'Fallon, Mo., man is facing six felony counts including murder in the second degree in last week's shooting in Ferguson that killed 9-year-old Jamyla Bolden and wounded her mother.

Police said Thursday De'Eris Brown, 21, confessed to shooting into Bolden’s home. Brown is being held on a $750,000 cash-only bond. Court records show Brown previously pleaded guilty to felony robbery.

Susannah Lohr | St. Louis Public Radio

With more than a hundred homicides already this year, St. Louis is no stranger to gun violence. On July 14, a St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department sergeant was ambushed while working a second, security job in the early hours of the morning. The officer survived thanks to a bulletproof vest, and four suspects have been arrested in connection with the shooting.  

We independently confirmed the identity of the officer with the St. Louis Police, but have granted him anonymity out of his concern for the safety of his family in order to hear his perspective on the situation.

Rick Rosenfeld and Sam Dotson
Alex Heuer

This week’s shooting of a police officer in the Central West End underscores the fact that crime continues to be a big problem in the area.

As of July 14, St. Louis City’s homicide rate is on pace to exceed the number of homicides in 2014.

(via Flickr/steakpinball)

The U.S. Supreme Court recently passed monumental decisions on same-sex marriage and upheld a high-profile challenge to the Affordable Care Act.

(via Flickr/M Glasgow)

A panel of community organizers, anti-violence experts and Washington University professors are seeking solutions to reduce the number of shooting deaths by identifying gun violence as a public health crisis.

Gun violence hits the St. Louis region in a profound way. Here are just a few of the numbers: 

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon. - On Friday, Nov. 1, one Paul Ciancia walked into Terminal 3 of Los Angeles International Airport. According to the Associated Press, the 23-year-old unemployed motorcycle mechanic carried a duffel bag containing a fully loaded AR-15 rifle, five additional 30-round magazines and hundreds of rounds of spare ammo in 20-round boxes. How he planned to find time to reload his magazines with the extra ammunition is anybody’s guess.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The Dog Days of Summer draw to a close. The Romans so named this time of year because of the celestial ascendancy of Sirius, the brightest star of the constellation Canis Major — the “Large Dog” in the night sky.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: A minister and a civil rights group are credited with pulling together what’s being described as the first city-county effort to focus on addressing crime, building trust and reducing conflict among young people, and improving the quality of life in underserved communities.