Minneapolis bishop hosting gun buyback as homicide toll climbs

'If we don’t do anything, then we are all guilty,' he said

A Minneapolis bishop is hosting a gun buyback amid a surge in fatal shootings in the city.

Minneapolis has recorded 59 homicides so far this year, up from 48 in 2019, WCCO in Minneapolis reported,

"We have to do something that can at least curb the violence for a night or two or three or four. Then it’s worth it. If we don’t do anything, then we are all guilty," Bishop Richard Howell Jr. told WCCO.

Two killings in Minneapolis Tuesday morning accounted for the 48th and 49th homicides of the year, surpassing the number of murders in the city for all of 2019. (Minneapolis Police Department)

Two killings in Minneapolis Tuesday morning accounted for the 48th and 49th homicides of the year, surpassing the number of murders in the city for all of 2019. (Minneapolis Police Department)

The number of people killed in Minneapolis was up 95 percent on July 31 compared to the same time last year, according to the outlet, and 20 more victims have been killed since then.

The death of Andre Conley, a 17-year-old senior at Patrick Henry High School who was killed in a drive-by shooting on Sept. 15, spurred his family and others to demand that more be done to curb crime.

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"I feel like we can’t continue to ignore these acts that are happening. I feel they are being ignored," Conley’s aunt, Fatemah Green, told WCCO.

The goal of the gun buyback is to get weapons off the streets.

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"No one is gonna get arrested. No one is gonna get charged for anything. All we want is: give us your guns," Howell said. "That’s one less gun we have to worry about in this community and one less life we have to be concerned about that may be taken away."

Carter Sims, 3, of Pine Island ran past a mural at the George Floyd memorial outside Cup Foods. LEILA NAVIDI • leila.navidi@startribune.com

Carter Sims, 3, of Pine Island ran past a mural at the George Floyd memorial outside Cup Foods. LEILA NAVIDI • leila.navidi@startribune.com

There needs to be "more than just praying," he added. "There has to be direct action to make those prayers come to pass."

The Minneapolis City Council on July 24 approved a revised budget that transferred $1.1 million from the police department to the city health department and its anti-crime efforts. But council members, at a Sept. 16 meeting, noted that the public is concerned with the spike in crime.

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The Minneapolis Public Health & Safety Committee on Thursday released an early community safety plan to implement effective alternatives to policing and police responses, including mental health co-responder teams, domestic violence outreach and a violence prevention fund.