ST. LOUIS — Police Chief John Hayden said Thursday that the city saw the “most violent” New Year’s Day in recent memory with the shooting deaths of five people.
The holiday was “extremely hectic” but extra officers were on duty Wednesday to contend with an expected increase in calls for shots fired either due to celebrations or aggravated assaults involving weapons, Hayden told the Post-Dispatch.
He said police were unaware of anyone injured by celebratory gunshots.
The first deadly shooting Wednesday occurred about 12:15 a.m., police said. Two men were found dead in a vehicle in the 3000 block of South Jefferson Avenue in Benton Park, suffering from multiple gunshot wounds, police said. One was Shemar Carnell, 24, of the 1600 block of Trotter Way in Florissant. Police have not publicly identified the other man, but Leset Smith, 25, said Wednesday that he was her cousin, Sean “Snack G” Greenwood, 28.
Deandre Davis, 21, of the 3800 block of Ohio Avenue, was found dead about a block away, in the 2900 block of Indiana Avenue.
Another shooting victim at the scene, a 22-year-old man, was taken to a hospital by EMS and is in stable condition. Yet another person, a 26-year-old man, was taken to a hospital in a private vehicle after he was shot in the foot, police said.
Police found three guns at the scene. A Post-Dispatch photographer counted 11 rifle shell casings eight hours later and at least five bullet holes in a nearby fence.
Hayden said neighborhood residents remain concerned about the shooting but he stressed that it was not random.
He said that the investigation is “very active and very ongoing” and that a “neighborhood event” drew both shooters and victims there, but declined to elaborate.
Ward 9 Alderman Dan Guenther told the Post-Dispatch on Thursday that someone rented an apartment through Airbnb for a New Year’s Eve party that “went south.”
Police are examining surveillance video from the scene and ballistics evidence, Hayden said, adding, “We expect to make arrests from that.”
The deadly incidents continued elsewhere on New Year’s Day.
About two and a half hours later, in the 5400 block of Genevieve Avenue in the Walnut Park East neighborhood, police found a man dead of gunshot wounds next to a vehicle. They had not yet identified him. A 30-year-old man was injured and taken to a hospital, they said.
Meanwhile, at 11 a.m., police found Darrell Smith, 36, of the 4900 block of Fountain Avenue, dead of gunshot wounds about two blocks north of his house, in the 1200 block of North Euclid Avenue in the Fountain Park neighborhood. Relatives at the scene declined to discuss his death.
Hayden said of the three separate shootings, one was drug-related and the other two were personal disputes, but he declined to say which was which.
Another man, Johnnie Lee Anderson, 33, was fatally shot early Thursday morning in the 4100 block of Minnesota Avenue, near Marquette Park in the Dutchtown neighborhood.
A separate shooting later Thursday also in Dutchtown left another man dead. Police were called about 12:30 p.m. to the intersection of Dewey Avenue and Osceola Street.
The altercation that led to that shooting involved a car that was “stolen and then recovered,” police Maj. Mary Warnecke said. Police were interviewing two people involved in the incident and were not looking for any other suspects, she said.
Liz Rushing, who has lived in the Dutchtown neighborhood for 10 years, said she hears gunshots three or four times a week. She used to have a camera on the back of her garage but someone stole it, she said.
“Dutchtown never used to be this way,” Rushing said. “I don’t like it at all. When things like this happen, I won’t walk (my dogs) for a while and then I’ll get brave and start doing it again.”
She added that such violent incidents are upsetting because as homeowners “these things happen and we can’t sell the house, and we feel stuck.”
Thursday’s killings bring the two-day homicide toll to seven. There were none in the first two days of 2019, but 194 for the year.
There also were three other nonfatal shootings Wednesday and two Thursday morning.
Mark Schlinkmann and Rachel Rice of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.