St. Louis records 109th homicide for 2015 amidst political rhetoric

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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) - Meanwhile the murder rate in the city of St. Louis has jumped again, with another homicide overnight.  FOX2's George Sells reports on concerns over the numbers, and a war of words mounting at city hall.

On a rundown stretch of Newstead, near Greer, a 31-year-old man was shot and killed early Sunday morning.  Riding past the latest crime scene on his bike, Ralph Childress tells us he had seen the victim, 31-year-old Curtis Williams, just hours before he died.

It was the city's 109'th murder of the year, and it came on the morning the mayor told our partners at the post dispatch that the city, -quote, “has a handle on the situation”.

Alderman Antonio French, on the phone from a conference in Washington, has been highly critical of the Mayor and Police Chief Sam Dotson.  French points to redistricting in the police department, a shifting of resources he says left problem areas with less manpower, as a culprit.

A spokesperson for the mayor says French is oversimplifying a complex problem.  "Reducing crime is the number one priority," Maggie Crane told us, "But even though we have more and better opportunities and programs, we have a climbing murder rate, proving that no one program is going to be the magic wand.  It will take everyone to reduce crime. Every idea. Every option. Every person committed to stopping the toll it's taking on our community."

The mayor's office says aldermen are holding up a plan for more police officers, French says the mayor has no way to pay for them.  All the while, the body count soars.