“It was truly a chaotic scene,” he said early Tuesday. “To see something like this is nothing short of outrageous.”
The shooting near the nation’s second-largest state fair concludes a summer marred by a stretch of mass shootings that killed more than 50 people in August and injured dozens more. It comes days after a mass shooting in West Texas that killed at least seven people and injured 22 renewed calls from Democrats and 2020 presidential candidates for President Trump and Republicans to tighten gun regulations.
Police were called to outside the fair in St. Paul around 10 p.m., shortly after responding to the city’s 15th homicide of the year several miles away. Authorities received a report that a 19-year-old woman was hit by a vehicle in a pedestrian crash, Linders said. The public information officer said the woman remains in critical condition and that the driver of the car was the one who called 911 and has been cooperating with authorities.
Then, around 10:20 p.m., several gunshots were heard a block south from the crash scene. When police arrived, they found one man had been injured from the gunfire. Later, two more people arrived at area hospitals with wounds from the shooting.
Speaking to reporters early Tuesday, Linders said that one of the wounded 20-year-olds was shot in the stomach and pelvic area. The other 20-year-old was shot in the hand and the 18-year-old was hit in the shoulder, he said. Their names had not been released by police as of early Tuesday.
While Linders said it was possible that the pedestrian crash and shooting were connected, police are still investigating both incidents.
Given St. Paul police’s heavy presence at the fair, which attracted nearly 250,000 visitors on Sunday, Linders categorized the scene as “disturbing.”
“We have a lot of people out there, so it’s so shocking and brazen because we have so many officers on site,” he said to The Post.
Witnesses took to social media as the chaos occurred in real time on the last night of the fair. One witness described to KARE how he heard about eight gunshots and how he and other fairgoers scrambled to safety.
“Everyone sort of reacted at the same time and realized that it was gunfire. People all kind of hit the deck and started scrambling from where we were at the bus stops,” he told the news outlet. “It was all extremely quick and panicked. We just got out as fast as we could.”
The shooting in St. Paul comes at the end of a summer that included another devastating incident of gunfire at a popular festival. In July, a 19-year-old gunman killed three people, including two children, and injured a dozen at the Gilroy Garlic Festival, a California food event that attracts thousands annually to a small city southeast of San Jose.
Linders lauded officers for immediately responding to the gunfire. Police are asking anyone with information on those responsible for the shooting to contact authorities.
Standing in front of the St. Paul Police Department’s headquarters early Tuesday, Linders said he recognized how the “incredibly dangerous” scene that had unfolded hours earlier could have been even worse.
“Everybody was put at risk,” he said. “We’re lucky more people weren’t injured or killed.”