Teenager dead from gunfire at Payne and Case

An 18-year-old male is dead after a shooting near the intersection of Payne and Case avenues in the Payne-Phalen neighborhood on St. Paul's East Side, according to the St. Paul Police Department.

Police responded to a call at 9:26 p.m. Thursday, July 11, where they found a young man with a gunshot wound lying in a parking lot near Payne and Lawson avenues.

St. Paul Fire Department paramedics brought the teenager to Region's Hospital downtown, where he died.

Officers had been on the scene about an hour earlier to disperse a large fight, said St. Paul Police's Eastern District commander Kevin Casper. They arrested five people; at least two of them were juveniles. When officers were called back to the scene, they found what they believed to be the same group, according to a statement from the Eastern District police.

The intersection of Payne and Case has been somewhat of a hotspot this summer, Casper said. As a result, the area has received additional attention from police, he said.

"We've been sending squads (out on extra patrols) probably since late April or early May," he said. "That area has been getting a lot of attention."

The intersection has one fixed surveillance camera, and with a recent grant from the city for mobile cameras, the department is looking to mount one in the troublesome spot. In addition to cameras and police presence, the department has also worked to do curfew intervention programming for troubled youths, Casper said.

Casper attributes many of the problems at the intersection to the bus stop there.

"A lot of the kids get pushed out of downtown and they take the 64 bus up into (the East Side) on Payne Avenue."

"They seem to gravitate to Weida and Wilder parks," he added, which are near the Payne/Case stop.

He speculated that a lot of those involved in the fighting are either current or past residents of the neighborhood.

Police continue to follow leads Friday afternoon but had not made any arrests related to the homicide, according to a statement from police. Investigators are calling on the public to assist with any information they might be able to provide regarding the incident. The St. Paul Police Homicide Unit can be reached at 651-266-5650.

Officers have basic information about the victim's identity, but are still working with the Ramsey County medical examiner's office to positively identify him.

Shootings like these "send such a shock  wave through the community," Casper said, "because 95 percent of what goes on (in the neighborhood is safe)."

"Then these kinds of things happen, and it's just traumatic," he said. "I want Payne to be perceived as a safe place, and it is ... but the perception doesn't always match up with reality."

Contact Patrick Larkin at 651-748-7816 or at eastside@lillienews.com.

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