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Minneapolis Park Board member wakes up to gunshots, bullet-ridden cars

Minneapolis Park Board Commissioner Kale Severson says he was awakened by the sound of 37 shots outside his north Minneapolis home.

Minneapolis Park Board Commissioner Kale Severson says he was awakened by the sound of 37 shots outside his north Minneapolis home. Kale Severson, Facebook

Sometime late Saturday night or early Sunday morning, Minneapolis Park Board Commissioner Kale Severson says, he heard 37 gunshots ring out as though they were right next to his head.

They weren’t, but they weren’t far. There was an incident underway outside his Irving Avenue home in north Minneapolis, as Severson wrote in a detailed account on his Facebook page on Sunday afternoon.

“My family was my first concern,” he said, “So I ran downstairs to check on them as I knew they fell asleep watching TV.”

They were startled and scared, but unharmed. Out the window, Severson said he could see teens running around and shouting about their “tool,” followed immediately by sirens.

“I noticed the police collecting evidence as in bullet casings,” he said. “This is a terrible ordeal for our community, more specifically Irving Avenue, as we have had multiple strings of violence in the past month.”

He’d later go outside to find fresh bullet holes in his cars. You can read the post in its entirety here.

Irving Avenue has had its share of hardship in the recent past, including the loss of a 27-year-old man named Kevin Beasley, who was shot to death at a house party on the 1100 block in late April. His grandfather, veteran civil rights activist Spike Moss, called the trend of young black men being the victims of shootings the “epidemic before the [COVID-19] epidemic.”

Days before that, two people were seriously injured and subsequently hospitalized after a shooting incident on the 3500 block.

Severson didn’t respond to interview requests, but in his post, he said he was “pissed off” and “a bit lost.”

“I’m upset that other parts of our city and county don’t understand the violence, more specifically the gun violence in north Minneapolis,” he wrote. “The one thought I have is as an elected park board commissioner I’ve been distracted by residents outside of north Minneapolis about road closures, pesticides, beavers, and so-called unfair bike practices. To hell with all of that.”

He said he’d “continue his voyage” trying to figure out how to reduce gun violence in the area—that it would be his “mission” for the remainder of his term.

“We deserve better!” he said.

One issue Severson referred to was the community debate about closing sections of Minneapolis parkways to give pedestrians more room to exercise and practice social distancing. Severson had concerns the parkways were overcrowded and would become a public health risk.

The beaver thing is… complicated. But you can learn more about that here.