Shock, grief and disbelief over the drive-by shooting death of Destinee Clemons Thursday in University City has given way to questions. Clemons was a May gradudate of the Individualized Learning Center Alternative High School in Eureka, as reported by Patch. The center is part of the Rockwood School District.
Several neighbors, area residents and public officials spoke Monday at the University City City Council meeting about the tragic death of the 17-year-old, who was sitting on her front porch with her sister when she was shot.
Francie Broaderick was the first to address the council. She opened by saying she appreciated the work of the council and that if her tone turned harsh it was merely because the 24-year resident felt passionately about the issue.
"I'm asking that the death of Destinee Clemons be a wake-up call to us all," she said. "We need to address the two separate worlds of U City—the one north of Olive and the one south of Olive."
Broaderick said the world south of Olive Blvd sent their children to private schools and could worry about bike paths, trolleys and greenways—all issues recently before the council. The world north of Olive was struggling with high dropout rates, unemployment and foreclosures.
"I heard the pop, pop, pop," she said. "This isn't new. My youngest children can name 12 people they went to school with that are in jail or dead."
Broaderick asked for an increased police presence. She and other residents spoke of a olice presence in the area, but thought foot patrols rather than drive-throughs would be more effective.
"I don't expect our officers to be social workers," she said. "I just think we could look at how to do it better."
Sultan Ali Muhammad, a former gang member who now works on violence prevention, told the council it needed to take this situation seriously.
"That could have been my daughter," he said. "She was minutes away from there."
Muhammad asked that the council value the humanity of the Third Ward residents.
"I have faith in you Mayor and members of Council—be good stewards of your distressed vessal that is the 3rd Ward," he said. "If the entire community of responsible adults doesn't act now in five years the University City we know now won't exist."
University City Police continue to investigate the crime. Police Chief Charles Adams said the department is searching for four suspects. City Manager Lehman Walker told Patch the city is committed to solving the crime and is providing Chief Adams with whatever tools are needed to man the investigation.
Please call the University City Police at 314-725-2211 or CrimeStoppers at 866-371-TIPS, with any information.