North St. Louis daycare reopens after temporary shutdown due to rash of gunfire

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ST. LOUIS – Small children are back at their daycare in north St. Louis after three shootings happened nearby.

The rash of violence close to Little Explorers Learning Center caused owners to shut down temporarily on Tuesday.

The daycare is now open but a bullet hole is left in the window from one of those shootings that happened Monday.

Two people had gotten into an argument near the daycare. The daycare’s assistant director said they pulled the children down to the ground to keep them out of harm’s way.

The first Tuesday shooting happened around 7:15 a.m. near the 5300 block of Dr. Martin Luther King Drive. According to police, 31-year-old Trey Neal died at the hospital from his injuries.

Just hours later at around 10:45 a.m. a 30-year-old man was shot and killed in the 5300 block of Ridge. The victim was later identified as Demetrius Whitt.

The shootings happened just blocks from one another. Police said they do not believe the shootings are related.

After the second shooting Tuesday, the center called parents to let them know what was happening and asked them to pick up the children.

Assistant Director Tawanda Brand said, fortunately, the children did not know what was going on during the acts of violence.

“They didn’t know. It was like we were more worried than them,” Brand said. “We are going to continue to keep doing what we do to work in our neighborhood and our community and try to keep our kids safe at all times.”

Meanwhile, St. Louis police have placed a camera with the city’s Real-Time Crime Center right in front of the daycare to monitor the area.

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