Krewson: More money needed to combat rising crime in city

ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson said taxes will have to be raised if people want a better paid and larger police force. Her comments come just 24 hours after five people were murdered in less than 10 hours on Thursday.

“These incidents are horrific … How do you shoot a seven-year-old? Someone explain that to me,” Krewson said.

Four people, including a seven-year-old girl, were shot near Beacon and Lillian. Three adults, including the mother and father of the girl, were killed. The couple’s five-year-old daughter, who was with the pair at the time of the shooting, was not physically injured. The dead included 27-year-old Derrick Irving and 24-year-old Jessica Garth. Irving and Garth and their two girls lived in Webster Groves.

“She was a sweet person; you never saw her without her kids,” said Carolyn Brown, Garth’s neighbor.

Brown and friends of the family established a memorial made up of balloons, signs, and stuffed animals where Jessica and Derrick lived with their daughters. Ebony Smith was a friend of both Jessica and Derrick.

“He was a good little father … they was cool with people,” Smith said.

In a separate incident, a 13-year-old boy was shot in the head late Thursday night in the 2500 block of Hodiamont. The boy was identified as Anthony Wilson Jr. His family said he was a great kid and loved by many.

“It makes me livid. It makes me sad; surely all of you feel the same way about that,” Krewson said.

The mayor said the city needs $20 million from taxpayers to hire more personnel and make police officers’ wages competitive. Remember the proposed soccer stadium? It was defeated by a vote in April, but a tax for it passed, meaning $4 million a year for the city. Mayor Krewson said she wants that money to go to public safety. Even if all that new tax money becomes reality, people who witness violence are going to have to overcome their fears and talk to police.

“I think there are good people who are willing to take that risk,” Krewson said.

The mayor said the interim police chief believe much of the violence has roots in illegal drugs. At last report, the seven-year-old was in critical condition.

In the meantime, the Missouri State Highway Patrol will be seen more on interstates in the city in the summer, freeing up city cops to concentrate on crime.