EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. — People living in East St. Louis are under a nightly curfew starting Friday.
A citywide curfew was put in place as a temporary measure to prevent violence. The curfew, which is from midnight to 6 a.m., is effective immediately until further notice. The curfew would mean fewer incidents on the streets and give police officers a rest after the violence, city officials said.
At a news conference Friday afternoon, Mayor Robert Eastern said, "We have zero tolerance for violence. Zero. And as a testament to that zero tolerance for violence, we’re going to be installing a curfew, starting today. I’m praying and I’m pleading to our young people to stop the gun violence."
Eastern said police would be forcing businesses to close during the curfew period.
“I’m sure this curfew not set right with some businesses,” said Eastern. “But once we explain the circumstances we’re going through right now, it’s better to have safe businesses, so they can sell the goods and services that they do, and for the people of East St. Louis to be safe.”
This comes after a shooting that sent seven people, including a child to the hospital.
The victims were shot near the intersection of MLK and 6th Street on Thursday. Everyone was taken to the hospital, but the condition of the victims is unknown at this time.
After the shooting, a MetroLink train collided with a car near the area of the shooting. Police say the driver of that car was involved in the shooting.
Early Friday morning, around 2:30 a.m., three suspects were taken into custody.
Eastern spoke of gun violence in his community.
"Making these unnecessary decisions is injuring people and impacting lives and communities," he said.
East St. Louis Police Chief Kendall Perry was asked what he knows about the circumstances that led to the shooting.
“I don’t want to speculate,” he said, “so at this time I can’t say what led to individuals to start shooting into the area. They were not shooting randomly. They had a target. I don’t know what their motive was, but they weren’t just shooting randomly.”
The police chief tried to add some perspective.
“I just want to say our crime is down 53 percent,” said Eastern. “Our homicide rate is down 67 percent prior to these last two weeks.”
Other measures like renovations to the police department, an increase in lighting around the city, and hiring more officers were also mentioned in an effort to cut down on violence.
Resources for crime victims:
If you have been a victim of a crime or know someone who has been, 5 On Your Side has compiled a list of resources.
Better Family Life is a nonprofit community development organization working to “stabilize inner-city neighborhoods.” One aspect of its mission is a gun violence de-escalation program.
To learn more, call 314-381-8200 or visit https://www.betterfamilylife.org/
Life Outside of Violence “helps those harmed by stabbing, gunshot or assault receive the treatment, support and resources they need to find alternatives to end the cycle of violence.”
To learn more, call 314-327-6697 or email: ProjectLOV@WUSTL.edu
The Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis has an anti-crime program called “Safety Net for Youth Initiative,” which is a joint partnership between and Saint Louis Public Schools to provide services to at-risk youth.
To learn more, visit https://www.ulstl.com/anti-crime-initiative.html
Cure Violence is an international organization that has recently launched in a handful of St. Louis neighborhoods. Violence interrupters are trained to deescalate violent situations within their own communities. To learn more, visit https://cvg.org/