Dustin Steinhoff, News Editor
In response to the growing rate of violent crimes in the St. Louis region, St. Louis Alderman Brandon Bosley has requested that Missouri Governor Mike Parson deploy the Missouri National Guard to deal with the problem.
Bosley was prompted by a shooting that took place April 6 to call for action from the Missouri National Guard. “I’m done waiting,” Bosley told St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Before it gets too bad, we need to do something measurable. Extra hands. Extra guns. Guns bigger than the ones on the street.”
Leon Smith, who was identified by police April 10, was the victim of said shooting. The suspect’s name has not yet been released. Smith was shot in the face twice by the shooter when an argument broke out after the shooter refused to move his car which was blocking an alleyway exit. Smith was found in the alley near his vehicle and was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Upon hearing the circumstances of the violent shooting, Bosley decided that certain measures must be taken in order to lower the violent crime rates.
“We’re going to have tanks on every damn corner,” Bosley told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “These people have to know we’re not playing anymore.”
In response to Bosley’s request, Steele Shippy, Parson’s communications director, issued a statement on Parson’s behalf.
“It’s certainly sad anytime someone is tragically affected by crime,” Shippy said in a statement. “While we understand the challenges, we are committed to working with local officials and jurisdictions all across Missouri on practical solutions to reduce crime.”
If the Missouri National Guard were deployed in St. Louis per Bosley’s request, this would be the third time that state help has been called into St. Louis in recent years.
In 2014, Governor Jay Nixon activated the Missouri National Guard during a state of emergency before the announcement of the St. Louis County’s grand jury verdict regarding the shooting of Michael Brown.
In 2017, Governor Eric Greitens had St. Louis interstates patrolled by the Missouri Highway Patrol with the aim to allow city officers to be better able to focus on policing troubled neighborhoods.
On April 11, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt swore in five special assistant U.S. Attorneys for the St. Louis area as a part of his Safer Streets Initiative. Schmitt’s Safer Streets Initiative began in January with the goal of decreasing the crime rates in Missouri.
“If major Missouri communities, like St. Louis, are going to be ranked on national lists, let it be for how we stopped and turned back the tide of violent crime and made our communities safe,” Schmitt said during a news conference April 11.
Violent crime cases will be the main focus for Schmitt’s newly appointed state and federal prosecutors. With both Bosley and Schmitt aiming to decrease the high crime rates in St. Louis, the two agree that more action to deter crime must be taken.
“I think Alderman Bosley has rightly pointed out that we need to do something. As far calling in the National Guard, I’ll leave that to the Governor,” Schmitt said.