Three men shot dead inside Franklin Avenue Somali grocery

It was only few days ago that Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak was congratulating his police chief, Tim Dolan, on helping to bring about the city's lowest homicide rate in years. But on Wednesday evening, both men showed up at the Seward Market and Hamal Meat shop on Franklin Avenue in a show of concern and support after three men were gunned down in the store.

The deaths are the second, third and fourth homicides of the year, following Dontae Deshun Johnson's shooting death Saturday on 6th Street North. At this time last year, the homicide count was 0, and it stood at 19 by the end of the year -- the lowest in 26 years, and a 50 percent decrease compared to 2008.

The Star Tribune reported that the three dead men were members of the neighborhood's Somali community.

Police did not identify the victims of the shootings at Seward Market and Halal Meats, on E. Franklin and 25th Avenues, but Abdirizak Bihi, director of the Somali Education and Social Advocacy Center in Minneapolis, said they were Somali immigrants, cousins who had pooled their money to buy the market.

At the scene of the Seward shootings, Rybak appealed for calm, and for witnesses to come forward. Police fanned out across the neighborhood as people wept and consoled each other at the scene of the shootings. No arrests have yet been reported.

Police are asking anyone with tips to call 612-673-3786.

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