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Concerns about safety in Saint Paul skyways after fatal shooting

Officials announced the temporary closure of the "Vertical Circulation Building" linking the skyways to Central Station.

SAINT PAUL, Minn — Two men shot and killed inside the building connecting the light rail Green Line Central Station to Saint Paul's skyway system was a tipping point for many in the community.

"We're here because last week in a horrific event, two young men lost their lives," Saint Paul City Council Member Rebecca Noecker said at the beginning of a virtual town hall meeting concerning safety in the city's skyway system and light rail stations.

People who walk the skyway didn't hold back.

"What I've seen in the last year and a half is the city just delve into almost a dystopian, lawless, chaotic place where hordes of individuals congregate freely using drugs," Saint Paul resident Eric Anderson said.

"I walk through the athletic building every day. It's a cesspool," said Saint Paul resident Ron W.

"That's the opposite of how we want downtown to feel. And that's the sense of urgency I'm bringing to this," Noecker responded.

City and Metro Transit officials announced they will be temporarily closing the building at Cedar and 5th Street where the shooting occurred so that safety changes can be made, such as covering many of the windows to keep people moving.

"Hopefully get the bad guys and gals out of there to where we don't have to worry about them in a perch preying on people," said interim Metro Transit Police Chief Rick Grates.

They did not announce a timeline for when the building will re-open, but a group of leaders will re-evaluate every month. In the meantime, Metro Transit will be bringing in private security guards to help them patrol the skyways, do more with cameras and possibly use an intercom system throughout the skyway system.

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