‘My heart breaks’- Mayor Jones on death of 19-year-old nursing student

Missouri

This story has been updated to reflect that Mayor Jones’ budget does not call for defunding the police

ST. LOUIS– St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones is responding to this weekend’s shooting that killed a 19-year-old woman and injured three other young adults.

Mayor Jones tweeted this morning that, “my heart breaks for the victims of violence across St. Louis this weekend- gun violence is a public health issue that touches everyone in our city. I am keeping especially close in my prayers 19-year-old Isis Mahr, who dreamed of becoming a nurse.”

Mahr was shot on Church Road near McLaran Ave just before 1:30 a.m. Sunday. She was with two 18-year-old men and a 16-year-old girl.

Isis Mahr was a Cardinal Ritter College Prep High School graduate. Her family told FOX2Now that she she was an excellent student, a member of the soccer team, and someone who naturally loved and cared for everyone around her.

Mayor Jones also tweeted that the City has allocated $11.5 million in American Rescue Plan funding to improve public safety to help protect young people through youth programming and community violence intervention programs.

She also tweeted, “With Missouri’s lax gun laws holding us back, we must use other tools to address violence.”

Mayor Jones has been criticized for how she intends to use the government pandemic aid. Earlier this year, Republican lawmakers gathered to voice their concerns about St. Louis and Kansas City’s plans to fund public safety.

Jones says she wants to spend it on what she says is tackling the real “root causes of crime” in the city. She previously said some of these root causes are poverty, housing instability, lack of access to mental health services, scarce jobs, and lack of opportunities for youth.

The city’s budget includes redirecting funds from police positions that have gone unfilled for 20 years and directs money to affordable housing, victim support services, supporting the unhoused, and more to reimagine public safety. 

It also includes funding for more than 25 new social workers. She said it is part of the city’s Social Worker for St. Louis Initiative.

She explained that increasing the number of social workers will mean there is more help for diversion call efforts. She said that by connecting people with the right resources there will be fewer people involved in the criminal justice system.

One of the city’s diversion programs is called “Cops and Clinicians”. Mayor Jones says it has been successful and between February and August about 70% of the people that have been encountered by the program have been diverted from entering the criminal justice program.

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