R.T. Rybak hopes Project Exile can grapple with guns and homicides

The Minneapolis homicide count keeps creeping up this year, 29 now compared to 19 total the year before. Sure, we're still 10 shy of the 39 in 2008, and a long, long way from 1995's Murderapolis mark of 99. But the current numbers are devastating families and neighborhoods, and feeding news headlines, and Mayor R.T. Rybak is looking for any help he can get to slow the killings.

Today at a news conference he announced Project Exile, in collaboration with U.S. Attorney B. Todd Jones, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman and city police Chief Tim Dolan. The plan aims at coordinating efforts at the city, county and federal level to come down hard on crimes and criminals involving guns.

"You carry a gun illegally or use an illegal gun in committing a crime, you will be arrested, you will be prosecuted and you will do time. Period," Freeman told WCCO.

"Those offices will collaborate on every single gun case and figure out id we can get a bigger bang" for the prosecutorial buck, Rybak spokesman John Stiles told us. Where appropriate, cases will be shifted to federal court, where there are heavier penalties for illegal firearms possession.

"We will make some determinations as to whether or not it is appropriate to bring felons in possession of firearms into federal court where they can face some serious consequences," Jones told MPR. "There are federal statutes that have mandatory minimum sentences of up to 15 years."

Here are the 29 homicides so far this year in Minneapolis

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