3rd Avenue residents grapple with apartment safety

An apartment building at 2101 3rd Ave. S., the site of three homicides since 2015.

An apartment building at 2101 3rd Ave. S. has seen three murders in the past two years. An apparent drug deal in May 2015 resulted in shots fired, a woman stabbed her boyfriend in June that same year, and a fatal stabbing in January allegedly involved people who knew each other.

Officials have secured convictions in the first two cases and have charged a suspect in the third.

Neighbors are trying to make sense of the recurring violence.

“It’s hard to make heads or tails of it,” said one resident who requested not to print his name. “We have good neighbors and we have a good community. The things that happened here didn’t deserve to happen. … This building is probably considered the most dangerous in Minneapolis, and there is no reason for it.”

When he tells co-workers about the murders, their first question is: Are you going to move? His answer: No.

“This is my home,” he said. “No matter where I go in the city, these things can happen.”

During the first shooting, the resident heard shots and a scream, and he could hear running out in the hall. Five weeks later, the resident got a text from a neighbor asking why cops had come to the building.

“It was basically like being punched in the gut,” he said. “Not again.”

A year-and-a-half later, one of his neighbors simply held up three fingers to tell him it had happened again.

“The reaction is fear and anger,” the resident said. “The reaction is why does this keep on happening?”

Police said the homicides were isolated incidents with unique circumstances. The department has documented 15 calls for service since January 2016.

Mint Properties has met with Minneapolis Police as well as the Whittier Alliance, the neighborhood group. Mint Properties did not respond for comment. Minneapolis Police Sgt. Catherine Michal said a security plan for the building is not public data.

The resident said he likes the landlord. He said fliers have announced plans to fix up the building.

“I know they want to do the right thing,” he said.

Charles Glasgow, who lives next door, is skeptical of renovation work.

“When you do stuff like that, you’re looking for your rent to triple,” he said.

Glasgow  has seen the violence next door at close range. In the summer of 2015, homicide victim Anthony Morgan ran out of the building bleeding profusely, saying his girlfriend had stabbed him. Glasgow held a towel on Morgan’s throat before paramedics arrived.

Charles Glasgow keeps an eye on the 2100 block of 3rd Avenue South.
Charles Glasgow keeps an eye on the 2100 block of 3rd Avenue South.

Glasgow is well-known in the neighborhood — “Chuck here is the community watch,” his neighbor said. He throws a block party every July. On a recent 60-degree day in March, he brought out chairs (one labeled “Chuck’s chair”) and grilled with a group of people in front of his apartment. He greeted everyone who came in and out of the building, and recognized several people passing on the sidewalk.

“How you doing man?” he said.

Glasgow said there was a time when drug activity was pervasive in the neighborhood, but it’s improved in the past 10 years. He said his grandkids visit, so he tries to keep an eye on things.

“The idea of meeting out here — they don’t want me to see what they’re doing,” he said.

The Whittier Alliance anticipates partnering with Mint Properties this spring to encourage more community gathering. The idea builds on a project last year to create “friendly” front lawns at apartment buildings with new lighting, games and places to sit while kids play.

“It’s the idea of eyes on the street,” said Ricardo McCurley, executive director of the Whittier Alliance. “It’s eyes in the building and creating community even within the building, as opposed to just the block or the whole neighborhood.”

The apartment resident said he’s considering reaching out to the Whittier Alliance to talk about his building.

“I want to make it safer, I just don’t know how,” he said.