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Daily gunfire making some Twin Cities residents feel like they're "held captive" in their own communities

MINNEAPOLIS — Earlier this year, police warned that this summer would be deadly because of an increase in gun violence — especially with weapons altered to fire like machine guns.

The illegal use of so-called “switches” — devices that turn semi-automatic guns into fully automatic guns — is impacting young people the most. 

On Wednesday night, a 14-year-old boy was shot in the face and another 15-year-old boy was shot in the foot in north Minneapolis. Earlier this week in Brooklyn Park, a north Minneapolis suburb, a 12-year-old boy was shot in the back at a recreation center. 

People living in neighborhoods where gunfire is common say they feel like they’ve become hostages in their own communities. 

Jamil Ford, an award-winning northside architect, lives with an exchange of gunfire at his doorstep almost nightly. He said a shooting Wednesday night happened earlier in the evening than usual. 

“My wife immediately started screaming, yelling, telling the kids, ‘Get down to the basement, Get down to the basement,'” he said. 

Wednesday night’s shooting sounded like automatic gunfire. The night before that, Ford says he could hear more than 100 rounds fired near the 4th Precinct police station.

Minneapolis police and their various partners, including the BCA, DEA, FBI, ATF, and the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, are searching for the illegal guns and the people firing them.

In the last two days, the Greater Minneapolis Safe Summer Initiative recovered more than 27 guns, four of which were fully-automatic. Thirty-four people were arrested.

For Ford and his family, living in an area where gunfire takes place daily has changed the way they live.

“We’re held captive within our own community,” he said. “We can’t go out with the expectations of allowing our kids to have fun.” 

Ford says young people need to feel safe telling authorities who is actively involved in shootings. 

“I talked to a few young guys, and they said, the other guys have the guns, so we need to have a gun,” Ford said. 

He believes the solution to the gun problem lies within the community. 

“It’s about time that men become more relevant in our community, to tell these young men that, ‘Hey, this does not fly, this is not acceptable,'” Ford said. 

He also believes there should be tougher penalties for people caught with altered illegal weapons. 

Source: CBS Minnesota

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