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Shootings in Uptown Have Some Business Owners Sweating Bullets

Concern for customer and worker safety is rising in the Minneapolis neighborhood.

Shootings in Uptown Have Some Business Owners Sweating Bullets
Photo by Craig Bares

The Warehouse District has developed a reputation for its sometimes volatile nightlife, with assaults, shootings, and other troubles. And now some business owners are starting to observe that bullets are flying in Uptown. There were at least four shooting incidents there between June 2017 and August 2018; all occurred after 10 p.m.

“I do know that there has been an increase of gun firings and shootings in the past year,” says Donna Fahs, COO for Edina-based Parasole Restaurant Holdings. “It is scary for business owners.” Parasole operates two Uptown restaurants, Chino Latino and Libertine. “We increased the security so that they’re available more nights of the week,” says Fahs, adding that she’s hearing concerns from other businesses in the neighborhood.

While there have been no fatalities, eight people have been shot in four different Uptown incidents:

  • June 2017: A man was shot after a confrontation with another customer outside Bar Louie, which closed earlier this year.
  • July 2017: Two people were shot in the 3100 Hennepin block; another person was shot near the intersection of Lagoon and Humboldt Avenues.
  • June 2018: Three people were shot in the parking lot of the Uptown Lotus restaurant. Police say two of the victims were bystanders.
  • August 2018: Officers responded to a shooting near Lagoon and Humboldt at bar close.

In late August, Uptown bar and restaurant owners and managers were working to arrange a meeting with Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender, who represents the area. Bender did not return numerous calls from TCB seeking comment.

In the case of the Lotus, Minneapolis Police Department spokesman Scott Seroka says it’s not clear if there was any connection between the shooting and the business, but in early August the City Council approved special operating conditions for the restaurant, including requiring two off-duty police officers on Friday and Saturday nights.

Many business owners and neighborhood representatives are wary of publicly talking about the problem. “It’s becoming serious. … It’s putting our customers in jeopardy,” says a staffer at one Uptown bar, who requested anonymity. “I’ve worked in Uptown for the better part of decade … it was never like this.”

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