Ill. city imposes curfew after 7 people are shot, including a child

In an attempt to curb criminal activity, Mayor Robert Eastern said the curfew will last indefinitely


By St. Louis Post-Dispatch

EAST SAINT LOUIS, Ill. — City leaders issued a plea Friday for an end to gun violence in the wake of a shooting Thursday that left seven people wounded — including a young child — and spurred a manhunt that lasted into the early morning, culminating with three arrests.

East St. Louis Mayor Robert Eastern III also announced a curfew will take effect at midnight Friday and run until 6 a.m. each day as part of a bid to curb criminal activity. The curfew will last indefinitely, he said during an afternoon press conference.

Thursday's shooting happened about 4 p.m. The Illinois State Police said seven people, including a child, who city officials said was either 3 or 4 years old, were shot in the area of Martin Luther King Drive and North Sixth Street. They were hospitalized, but their conditions weren't released.

A manhunt for the gunmen ended early Friday with the arrests of three suspects in the basement of a partly demolished building.

Police swarmed the area in a search for the shooters. More than 10 hours later, at 2:30 a.m. Friday, officers about a block from the crime scene arrested three people in the 600 block of St. Louis Avenue.

No details have been released about the suspects or a possible motivation for the shooting.

The shooting came on the heels of two other fatal incidents this week. On Sunday, a 3-year-old girl was hit by a stray bullet while she slept in her home, and later was declared brain-dead. On Tuesday, a 16-year-old was killed in a shooting.

Eastern said additional measures also would be taken, including the hiring of more officers and improved safety measures, most prominently the curfew.

He acknowledged that not all will be happy about the curfew, but said it was necessary under the circumstances.

"It's better to be sure we have safe businesses so they can sell the goods and services they do, and the citizens of East St. Louis are safe," he added.

The crime scene Thursday widened throughout the night, and included a MetroLink crossing near Martin Luther King Drive, where a vehicle collided with a train and disrupted service.

MetroLink officials said it appeared that the vehicle drove around the crossing gates into the path of an oncoming train in East St. Louis. The crash was part of the investigation.

The crash disrupted MetroLink service between the Fifth and Missouri and Emerson Park stations throughout the night, but regular service resumed early Friday. Passengers were shuttled by bus around the two affected stations during the disruption, said Patti Beck, a communications official with Bi-State, which operates MetroLink.

A crowd of onlookers gathered to watch as troopers, St. Clair County sheriff's deputies, police vehicles, SWAT team members and armored personnel vehicles amassed at multiple sites in East St. Louis.

(c)2021 the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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