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St. Paul police chief, mayor hold emergency meeting after 3 murders in 9 hours

2019 is on track to be the most violent year for the city in a decade.

ST PAUL, Minn. — St. Paul's mayor, police chief and top law enforcement agents held an emergency meeting Tuesday to discuss a unified response to an explosion of gun violence that led to three separate homicides in nine hours time. 

"It has been a tragic week in Saint Paul. Last night was one of the most violent nights I have witnessed in my career," wrote St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell on his Facebook page. "Three lives were lost, three families will never be the same and our community is waking to uncertainty and fear."

“There’s a very small number of people involved in this violence," added police spokesman Steve Linders. "Let’s find them and hold them accountable.”

Chief Axtell has scheduled an emergency meeting of his executive team for Tuesday morning to discuss a fitting response to the outbreak of violence and hopefully, a detailed plan moving forward in the days ahead. 

"Please know that the women and men of the SPPD are working tirelessly to apprehend anyone involved in this violence... pray for the victims, our community and our staff who are exhausted from working extraodinary hours," Axtell wrote. "I called a meeting with my executive team this morning to make sure all of our resources are aligned in an effort to apprehend those responsible and to prevent any further violence. I will announce my plans later today."

Chief Axtell and Mayor Carter will meet with reporters at 3 p.m. Tuesday to discuss the results of their meeting. 

Monday, 4:30 pm 

Officers arrived at the corner of Rice St. and Winnipeg Ave. West and found an 18-year-old suffering from gunshot wounds, laying in a corner store in St. Paul's North End neighborhood. 

Emergency responders tried to help the victim, but he died inside the business. 

Police identified the victim as Raumez Ross of Apple Valley.

RELATED: St. Paul police investigating homicide outside store

Police say around 30 people were in the area at the time of the shooting, at risk of being shot.  

No arrests have been made, but police do not think the shooting was random. 

The young man's death marked St. Paul's 17th homicide of 2019. 

Monday, 10:00 pm  

Shots rang out in the Payne-Phalen neighborhood, near Edgerton Street North and Case Avenue East following a crash involving multiple vehicles. 

RELATED: Good Samaritan killed in second St. Paul homicide Monday

The deadly incident began when a man rear-ended a vehicle drive by a woman, pushing her into the northbound lane of Edgerton and then into a parked car. The man's vehicle continued to move after the accident and struck a second parked car. 

A good Samaritan came outside after hearing the crash in an attempt to help the drivers. At that point, police say, the driver responsible for the crash pulled a gun and began firing, with at least one bullet striking the Samaritan in the head. 

Police identified the Samaritan as 31-year-old Javier S. Yanez of St. Paul.

The Yanez was declared dead at the scene. Officers were able to take the shooting suspect into custody. 

This death was the 18th homicide of 2019. 

Tuesday, 12:15 am  

According to spokesman Linders, police learned about the third homicide around 12:15 a.m. when a vehicle with three people inside arrived at Regions Hospital. Two people inside that car were suffering from gunshot wounds. 

Police identified the victim as 27-year-old Nikey L. Taylor JR of Minneapolis. 

A passenger in the vehicle was declared dead on arrival, while the driver was treated for non life-threatening injuries. The third passenger wasn't injured.

Investigators subsequently learned that the car with the three passengers was at the intersection of Marion St. and University Ave. W. when someone in another vehicle began shooting at them. The suspect or suspects fled, and have not yet been identified. 

So far this year, there have been 19 homicides in St. Paul, four more than all of 2018.

With the latest shooting St. Paul is on pace to see the deadliest year in at least a decade. Back in 2017, there were 22 homicides in the city.