Duluth Police Chief addresses rise in teen gun violence after deadly shooting

After a shooting on Friday night that left one teen dead and another in custody, Duluth's Police Chief called on the community to combat teen gun violence.
Published: Jul. 5, 2022 at 6:53 PM CDT
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DULUTH, MN. (KBJR) - After a shooting on Friday night that left one teen dead and another in custody, Duluth’s Police Chief called on the community to combat teen gun violence in the city.

Chief of Police Mike Tusken said in a news conference Tuesday the victim and suspect in a shooting between two 17-year-olds couldn’t be named just yet.

The shooting happened Saturday night around 9:30 p.m. near 16th Avenue and 1st Street.

Authorities said the suspect and victim were known to each other, but couldn’t share what led up to the shooting or how the suspect got his hands on a gun.

Chief Tusken acknowledged the rise in teen gun violence in Duluth and said it needs to stop.

“It is of significant concern when we see juveniles involved in gun crimes,” said Tusken. “And certainly possessing but certainly, of course, using them to feloniously assault others.”

Chief Tusken said there have been three violent gun-related incidents involving teens in the last month.

The department made an arrest in connection to two other crimes, which they believe were related, about two weeks ago.

Tusken questioned whether the pandemic and isolation period are playing a role in the increase in gun violence.

“Is it part of the result of a pandemic and lack of access to resources and programming or mentorship?” he asked. “It very well could be.”

He called on the community to become more involved in their kids’ lives.

Asking questions about where kids are going outside of the house or who they are hanging out with is crucial.

“Every one of us are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers,” he said, “we’ve got to be as a community, look for ways to engage our youth, look for ways to mentor them.”

Tusken said the department wants the help of community organizations that will keep teens from turning to guns and violence.

Lifehouse Duluth is one organization that helps teens dealing with difficult life situations.

The Executive Director of Lifehouse Duluth, Jordon Eunison-Chisti, recognizes there are a lot of factors that contribute to teens turning to violence.

“When they see that taking place as well as a way to protect themselves, especially we think of the young people we work with,” he said, “we want to ensure they’re safe and have a safe place to stay.”

Chief Tusken said if anyone in the community has information about kids or teens having or using guns illegally, to call Duluth Police Department’s Violent Crimes Unit at (218) 730-5050.

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