St. Louis has already tied its all-time record homicide rate, after a bar shooting killed a 38-year-old man.
Authorities said the man, William Edwards of of Cahokia, Ill., was shot at the bar Sunday in north St. Louis. Cahokia is about five miles south of the bar, across the Mississippi River.
With Edwards’ death, St. Louis homicides reached 207 for 2020. Last year at this time, there had been 158 killings. The all-time record was set in 1993, when there were 267 total homicides for the year.
Sunday’s shooting tied the homicide rate — 69 per 100,000 residents, which was also set in 1993.
In all the homicides this year, 281 firearms were used, according to a St. Louis Metro Police Department analysis. Police investigators have closed 53 cases and more than 150 remain open, the department said.
Maj. Shawn Dace, commander in the Bureau of Investigations for the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, told KSDK-TV the COVID-19 pandemic and civil unrest have taxed police resources.
“We’ve had to quarantine people, we’ve had civil unrest, so we’ve had to deploy our resources in a lot of places, which causes us to lose visibility at times,” he said.
The St. Louis County Sheriff’s department said last month it would increase patrols for the Metro transit system.
A woman was arrested for Edwards’ death after she went to a hospital with gunshot wounds. Investigators are not yet sure about a motive.
“[The high homicide rate] is a function of persistent and high poverty rates in the city, persisting levels of joblessness especially now given the impact of COVID on the economy, continuing high levels of racial segregation,” said Richard Rosenfeld, criminologist with the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
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