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St. Paul stabbing raises concern as Minnesota city hits record high homicide rate

A man was stabbed to death in St. Paul on Thursday, which marked the capital city’s record thirty-fifth homicide of the year. The stabbing occurred over a parking dispute on the 1700 block of East 7th Street on the East Side, and leaders are still trying to combat an increase in crime.

“The absolute worst part of my job,” said Mayor Melvin Carter on Friday, “is getting notice that someone’s lost their life in this city, and I’ve gotten that notice more times this year than any mayor in the history of our city ever has. That is traumatic. That is heartbreaking.”

Carter is preparing to start his second term as mayor, and he is currently searching for a new police chief after Todd Axtell announced he will not seek reappointment.

Carter has advocated for a “community-first” approach to public safety since he entered office in 2018, which included plans designed to address core causes of crime like poverty, especially since it has been exacerbated by COVID-19.

Axtell made a plea for money to hire more police officers for the upcoming year due to the city’s population growth. Due to the growth, the city’s homicide rate per capita had remained below historic records, but Carter’s critics say the police force has not been bolstered to serve the needs of a bigger population.

Mark Ross, president of the St. Paul Police Federation, said on Friday in response to the homicide, “It’s a sad day, but it’s not surprising. If we were fully staffed, I don’t think we would have reached this number.” Fifty-year-old Brian Harry Kjellberg was arrested on Friday morning on a second-degree murder charge in the death of Arnell J. Stewart, twenty-seven, of Georgia.  

ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: STAR TRIBUNE

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