ST. LOUIS (AP/KMOX) — Authorities say three women were shot to death as they tried to escape when burglars broke into their St. Louis home.

St. Louis Police Major John Hayden says the shooting happened early Friday on the city’s north side. The slain women are believed to be in their 20s. Their names haven’t been released. No one has been arrested.

Police received a call about gunfire just two minutes after a burglary in progress was reported. Authorities say a man also was at home during the break-in but that he ran off and wasn’t shot.

Hayden says multiple shell casings from different caliber weapons were found at the scene.

The deaths are expected to bring the city’s homicide total to 203 for the year.

St. Louis Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed released a statement regarding the homicide total – a 21-year high – and public safety.

“Today, I woke up to the news of the 203rd murder in our City. I am heartbroken. We need to take action, now.

“I am calling on our City, its leaders and our legislators to make reducing our crime rate their sole focus and No. 1 priority. I will be reaching out to our business community to ask them to invest directly into our efforts,” he writes.

Reed goes on to say that once the Board of Aldermen resumes session, he plans to introduce a bill that would require the Department of Public Safety to submit an annual comprehensive public safety plan to the Public Safety Committee. The plan would include community input and national best practices, and it would collect data to analyze its effectiveness. He sites the Boston Ceasefire Project as an example.

“We are in a crisis,” Reed says.

CLICK HERE to read his full statement.

(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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