Gunshots on Delmar Loop Saturday
Two separate incidents on the Delmar Loop Saturday evening left two locals hospitalized and made it difficult for some students to return to their off-campus apartments Saturday night.
Lt. Robert Ceriotti from the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department said no one was killed or taken into custody in either case, though some students at the scene said they saw people handcuffed and led out by police.
Ceriotti said the first disturbance, which police responded to at around 9 p.m. on Saturday, involved about 300 youth who were beginning to fight around a Washington University-owned grass lot by the intersection of Delmar and Skinker Boulevards. The second happened after 11 p.m. at Church’s Chicken, with two males sustaining gunshot wounds before being taken to a local hospital.
Gunshots were reportedly fired in both events, and several blocks of Delmar and Skinker Boulevards were fenced off for about an hour after the first incident. Ceriotti said police have yet to find whoever was responsible for the two shootings, as only one witness had come forward as of Sunday afternoon.
Police who arrived at the earlier scene were responding to a number of calls they had received throughout the day.
“There were several reported skirmishes, but when the police approached the kids involved, they were all dispersed so there were no arrests made,” Ceriotti said. “But we’re still trying to evaluate how the crowd became that big that quick.”
Senior Ben Winston, who lives by the Froyo on the Loop, said he and his friends did not see the incidents but noticed the mob of youths that had been on the street for most of the day and saw police trying to disperse the crowd after the altercations.
“We were walking down the Loop to just see what was going on [and] there were policemen around and police dogs; they were trying to get rid of the mob of teenagers,” he said. “We got there right after they had blocked off the street, and there were cops everywhere.”
Winston added that it was nearly impossible to leave the area because the traffic was heavy due to the blockade.
“Cars literally couldn’t move anywhere east,” he said. “It was just sort of out-of-the-ordinary craziness on the Loop. There was no easy way to get out of where we were because there were so many cops.”
Blueberry Hill owner Joe Edwards said the first incident was highly reminiscent of similar events last year that led to increased patrols by four area police departments.
“It’s frustrating. It’s sad for an area like this,” he said. “Nothing like this has happened in over a year and it all took place in less than two hours.”
Edwards said that the police, community leaders and business owners have already scheduled meetings to discuss the disturbances and make sure that they do not recur.
“Crime in this area is at its lowest in 40 years,” he said. “People need to realize that it will be dealt with…[and] ill behavior won’t be tolerated.”