City of St. Louis Announces Expansion of Recreation Center Hours, Programming for Youth Following Tragic Overnight Shooting Downtown
The City is working to expand youth programming and hours at Wohl and Marquette Recreation Centers in the weeks ahead.
Today, Mayor Tishaura O. Jones, joined by SLMPD Chief Robert Tracy, Congresswoman Cori Bush, Ald. Rasheen Aldridge (14), and Saint Louis Mental Health Board Deputy Director Serena Muhammad, delivered an update on this morning’s tragic shooting at Washington and N. 14th Street and announced new steps the City of St. Louis is taking to give youth safe, fun spaces to go over the summer. In partnership with the Mental Health Board, the City is working to expand youth programming and hours at Wohl and Marquette Recreation Centers in the weeks ahead on Fridays and Saturdays, 6pm - 10pm for youth 15 and under and 10pm - 12pm for 16 and older, through August.
“Make no mistake: The violence these young people experienced last night is intolerable and unacceptable,” said Mayor Jones. “SLMPD’s summer detail responded quickly to the scene. But officers respond after the shooting starts: We, as a city, as a community, and as an entire region, must offer our youth more safe spaces before things escalate into dangerous late-night parties in office buildings. A police response alone is not enough to keep our youth out of harm’s way, and the City is expanding our youth program options at our recreation centers to give them more places to go and have fun. With young people traveling from as far as Jefferson County to Downtown on the weekends, I hope our civic, nonprofit, corporate, and philanthropic partners in our region will match or exceed our efforts and recognize the urgency of this moment.”
Chief Tracy emphasized that party invitations spread through social media and that the person of interest in custody is a juvenile from outside St. Louis. The investigation into how partygoers accessed the commercial property is ongoing. While this party is not believed to be related to a short-term rental, a bill regulating properties is currently being proposed at the Board of Aldermen.
“The scene investigation revealed numerous shell casings from multiple firearms, and multiple firearms were recovered at the scene, including AR-style rifle pistols as well as a handgun, which was found in possession of a person of interest who was taken into custody by plainclothes detectives responding immediately to the incident,” said Chief Tracy. “Finding things for juveniles to do is a regional issue, and at the same time, it should be prohibited for juveniles to carry guns. Anyone with information is urged to call SLMPD’s Homicide Division directly at 314-444-5371, or anyone with a tip who wants to remain anonymous can contact Crimestoppers at 866-371-TIPS.”
Congresswoman Cori Bush highlighted the need for stronger commonsense gun safety laws to help protect St. Louis families from violence.
“Today on Fathers Day, fathers in our very own community are dealing with the aftermath of their child getting shot. Missouri’s weak gun laws are killing our children, and preventing our parents and caretakers from being able to protect their kids,” said Congresswoman Bush. “There are solutions, but it is the lawmakers legislating from the pockets of the NRA that are standing in our way. But I will never stop pushing for the safety of our communities and will continue to work to make sure our solutions are rooted in public health.”
The incident occurred in the ward of Ald. Aldridge, who expressed appreciation for the City’s quick response and dedication to expanding opportunities for youth.
“I commend the SLMPD for their ongoing investigation into the party that took place at an office building in downtown St. Louis, and I will work with them to take all necessary steps to ensure that this does not become a recurring pattern,” said Ald. Aldridge. “I appreciate the Mayor's administration for taking proactive steps to provide safe spaces for our young people, including the extension of weekend hours at these recreation centers. The Board of Aldermen’s Youth Council is an important step in engaging our youth and giving them a voice in shaping their future, and together, we can create a safer and more equitable city for all."
The investigation into the incident is ongoing. Learn more about opportunities for youth this summer, as well as other summer programming options and pool schedules, on the City’s website.
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