ST. PAUL — First, gunshots rang out on a St. Paul street — three shots and then five more.
Then, an 8-year-old girl screamed.
“They shot my dad! They shot my dad!” neighbors heard.
RayVell Carter, 41, of Roseville, was fatally shot Wednesday night, Sept. 18, after he left Bible study in the Summit-University neighborhood.
Police said he had just departed St. Albans Church of God in Christ at Aurora Avenue and St. Albans Street with a group of people, including his father and daughter, when someone opened fire.
Carter’s father, who has a permit to carry, fired back, police said.
Carter’s killing was the sixth fatal shooting in St. Paul this month and the 20th homicide of the year.
Mayor Melvin Carter, who was not related to the man who died, said Thursday that the recent violence has “been unacceptable and unusual in our city.”
Last week, Police Chief Todd Axtell announced a five-step plan, including having extra officers on patrol, after there were three homicides in an 8-hour span.
Family reeling after shooting
Frances Goodlow lives in the area where RayVell Carter was shot. His body was found in her backyard, his Bible next to him.
Goodlow heard the anguished cries of Carter’s daughter and said she’s grateful that the girl wasn’t wounded.
“I’m thinking they didn’t shoot her because (Carter’s) father responded so quickly, shooting at them, that they got away,” said David Goodlow, Frances’ husband. He heard the shots, but neither he nor Frances saw who was responsible.
Da’Ray Sherow, a cousin of Carter’s, said he’s shocked, saddened and angry.
“For him to be coming out of his Bible study, it’s going to take some time to wrap my head around that one, why somebody would do that to him in front of his daughter of all things,” Sherow said.
Police said the homicide did not appear random. The investigation continues and police did not announce any arrests Thursday.
Violence comes as city's budget is weighed
The recent spate of gun violence in St. Paul comes as the City Council and Mayor Carter are working on next year’s budget, which includes a proposal by the mayor to reduce the police department’s authorized strength by five officers. It doesn’t require layoffs because the department hasn’t been able to hire up to its authorized strength.