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Tragedy Can Happen Anywhere

June 14, 2013 Cherokee Business District, Crime, Featured, South City 21 Comments
The Cherokee Street Business Incubator,  March 2010 photo
The Cherokee Street Business Incubator, March 2010 photo

Yesterday a tragic even occurred on Cherokee Street:

Four people were shot to death after an apparent murder-suicide inside a Cherokee Street building Thursday afternoon.

Ambulances and police cars responded to the scene at 2715 Cherokee Street at 1:29 p.m. The Cherokee Place Business Incubator is housed at that location and is home to many individual businesses. (KMOX)

What we must all remember is there are unstable individuals everywhere who settle disputes with guns. This is not a reflection on the people who live or work in the area where these individuals snap. I have seen Cherokee Street blossom in the 23 years I’ve been in St. Louis. One of my first jobs upon arrival was working for an antique store east of Jefferson, almost nobody went west of Jefferson in 1990. This doesn’t change my positive view of Cherokee.

The suburbanites reading this may think this is another city shooting and that these types of things don’t happen in their community. Again, these things happen everywhere.

Less than a year ago:

The shootings happened Monday morning in the 700 block of Hawbrook Road, in Glendale, Missouri a wealthy suburb about 10 miles west of St. Louis.

Mitchell Murch II called police Monday to say his wife Catherine, 42, had killed the couple’s two children, then herself at the family residence. (KMOV)

Glendale is wealthy compared to much of St. Louis but it pales in comparison to Frontenac.  In 2003 my then-boss and I met a couple at their home, they were considering hiring us for a remodeling project . We didn’t get the job, disappointing because we had another project in the same subdivision.  Two years later came this news:

Three people are dead following a shooting and high speed pursuit in the west St. Louis County suburbs of Town & Country and Ladue. Police say a man, identified as John Alexander of Frontenac shot and killed his estranged wife Kelli Alexander, 35, also of Frontenac and the caregiver of their children 29 year old April Wheeler of St. Charles, who is a friend of the family. John Alexander shot his wife, who was in her car with their three children, outside a home in the 2600 block of Bopp Road shortly before 6 p.m. Friday night. Video: Police Press Conference Corporal Jeff Myer, spokesman for the Town & Country Police Department, says police received several calls about a possible shooting outside a home on Bopp Road, which is just south of Clayton Road in Town & Country. (KSDK)

I sat at their breakfast table just a couple of years earlier! Do his actions put at black eye on Bopp Rd? No, these things happen everywhere. Wealthy neighborhoods don’t have immunity from senseless tragedy.

The families of yesterday’s victims have my deepest sympathies.

— Steve Patterson


Currently there are "21 comments" on this Article:

  1. JZ71 says:

    You say, “The suburbanites reading this may think this is another city shooting
    and that these types of things don’t happen in their community.” I disagree. Most people do realize that “these things [can] happen everywhere.” What doesn’t happen in the suburbs is the 14 people getting shot in one night in separate incidents in one night in the city, earlier this week. Mass shootings and workplace shootings ARE viewed by most people as random and rare events, it’s the steady drip, drip, drip of news of street crime and gang violence that paints the picture that the city is, or at least certain parts are, “unsafe”. This was “big news” only because of the number of victims. If it was just one or two, even as a murder suicide, it would have barely registered in the local media or the local consciousness, and that’s what’s both sad and scary . . . .

  2. moe says:

    Spot on Steve! JZ….the big difference between suburban and the City is 1) we know there is crime in the city, we acknowledge it, we fight it where as those in suburbs are very much of the mindset that crime doesn’t happen in my neighborhood. Do they think there are not drug addicts, meth houses, robberies in Wildwood and Ladue, and Clayton, and Webster? Yes some do think that….hence the ” I’m not going into the city unless I have to attitude”. But also, #2)…..look at the square miles of the City compared to Webster or Ladue…A bigger area is going to have bigger crime.
    But I digress….what bothers me most is that people will classify this as crime. And while it technically is a crime, many of the crimes in St Louis and yes, even the county are where the parties have a relationship….gang, family, romantic, in this case employment. So when the naysayers start saying the police aren’t doing their job, the police have actually very little to do with it. They arrive after the fact….the sad truth is that the only way many of these needless deaths are going to end is not by background checks (which I am for), not by regulating arms (which I am for some weapons), but only when people learn that when they are heated, mad, upset….the first thing they don’t pick up is a gun.
    Maybe they need to start teaching anger management in schools?

    • Mark says:

      Here in the “almighty” Clayton, there are a few things we just DON’T ALLOW! One is crime! Like the Jesuits in high school, our police are vigilant and steadfast, committed to preserving Clayton’s reputation for maintaining an impregnable shield that safeguards its residents and (some) visitors.

      • wump says:

        they love to enforce DWB laws in clayton. lord i hate that place

        • guest says:

          The comments both here and at NextSTL lately have been GREAT! 🙂 Keep it up! Yo, “wump”, gonna drop some of that mafiosa talk over here while you’re at? Capisce?

      • Josh says:

        It’s not that Clayton doesn’t tolerate crime; it’s that they don’t tolerate anyone or anything outside the WASP mold.

        With all do respect, it’s not that Clayton Police are altogether better than the City Police, they don’t have the poverty and its associated problems. Poverty in Clayton is driving a Ford or a Chevy.

        Keep up with them Joneses.

        • Jeff says:

          Never really associated Clayton with WASP. Ladue, maybe…

          • Eric says:

            Yeah, Clayton has tons of Jews and Asians. It even has a reasonable number of “poor” people, but they are either recent upwardly-mobile immigrants, or Lutherans studying at Concordia Seminary. So there are upper-class norms, even if many of the people are not WASPs. Some suburbs have meth users, but Clayton is not one of them. Many of the business people there probably do coke, though.

      • Branwell1 says:

        “Like the Jesuits in high school, our police are vigilant and steadfast,”

        Yikes. That is a vividly unsettling bit o imagery right there. Some forms of “vigilance” are not interchangeable, though rereading the whole post, it occurs to me that your comments are perhaps facetious..? In any case, it’s hard to imagine an “impregnable shield” that selectively safeguards visitors.

    • JZ71 says:

      Moe, perception is reality. You and I both know that the entire city is not one big battleground, but that’s what gets reported and that’s what many suburbanites believe / fear. The whole reason Steve “needed” to do this post was to try and counteract the knee-jerk reactions he assumed many suburbanites would have. Yes, the city Police continue to fight crime, just like suburban departments do. The difference is that serious crimes happens in the city at a much higher rate than it does in the suburbs – the numbers don’t lie and the media reinforces that every day. Denying that it doesn’t is naive!

      • I’d argue these type of incidents happen more frequently in suburbia, measured on a per capita basis. Just think of some of the high-profile mass shootings in the last year. The shooter is usually an affluent white male from the ‘burbs.

        • moe says:

          I typed a response to Jz….did it go to the NSA instead?

        • JZ71 says:

          To quote CNN Money: “Even though it still ranks second on the most dangerous cities list, St. Louis is a lot safer than it used to be. Murders have been cut in half over the past two decades — as have the numbers for other violent crimes. Still, at about 35 murders per 100,000 residents in 2011, St. Louis claims the third highest homicide rate of any major city. One reason St. Louis’s crime rate is so high is that the city has not grown beyond its very constricted borders, according to criminologist Richard Rosenfeld of the University of Missouri, St. Louis. Other cities have expanded outward by swallowing up safer nearby communities, which helps dilute the overall crime stats. Oklahoma City’s reporting area, for example, is nearly 10 times the size of St. Louis’. If the safer St. Louis suburbs were counted into its crime statistics, the overall crime rate for St. Louis would be much lower.” I agree, mass shootings can and do happen “anywhere”. My point is that yesterday’s mass shooting / workplace shooting / murder suicide is not what is “scaring” our suburban neighbors, it’s the near daily body count that gets reported on the local news. Your need to do a preemptive post about yesterday’s incident just reinforces the fact that we in the city have become numb to the daily reports of drive-by shootings and gang retaliation.

      • “Perception is reality” is such a tired cliché! See Looks Can Deceive: Why Perception and Reality Don’t Always Match Up http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=looks-can-deceive and maybe you’ll stop beating the same drum over and over.

        • Eric says:

          “such a tired cliché” and “beating the same drum over and over” are tired clichés, you know..

        • JZ71 says:

          I’m not the one “beating the drum”, the Post-Dispatch and the local TV news do nothing to disabuse suburbanites of the pervasive perception that the entire city is a dangerous place to be. Your need to immediately do a post about “tragedy can happen anywhere” just reinforces this (mis)perception. Urban dwellers and urban advocates already know that, and I doubt many confirmed suburbanites are reading your blog, waiting to be educated. And while you may be willing to dismiss people’s misperceptions and how it influences their decisions, I’m a big believer in changing perceptions. If stereotypes about immigrants, African-Americans and homosexuals hadn’t evolved, many times through brute force, over time, we’d still be stuck living life as it was done in the 1940’s!

          That said, I agree completely with the last paragraph in the article you linked in Scientific American: “Our conscious perception of the world, though relatively stable, is not static. We are incapable of being fully objective, even in our most mundane observations and impressions. Our awareness of the objects around us is informed and fine-tuned by any number of transient factors—our strength and energy levels, our sense of confidence, our fears and desires. Being human means seeing the world through your own, constantly shifting, lens.”

          • You’ve said “Perception is reality” in comments on this blog more than 40 times in the last 2.5 years, but sure, blame others for reinforcing it.

  3. RyleyinSTL says:

    America’s love affair with legal and easily acquirable handguns kills 4 more. Sad.

  4. John R says:

    I think most people understand this as a workplace shooting that could happen anywhere. Unless I’ve missed one since, I think the ABB incident (2011?) may have been the last multiple death workplace shooting in the region.


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