Officers from the Duluth Police Department investigated several shots fired in a downtown Duluth alley early Sunday morning, then seized several handguns during a traffic stop in the Central Hillside.

Officers reported hearing shots near the alley in the east 100 block between First and Second streets around 2:30 a.m., according to a news release. They also received a report of the shots and spoke to a witness on the scene. After investigating they found 17 bullet casings and a damaged sign.

No injuries were reported and no suspects were located.

This is the latest in an uptick in gunfire incidents in the last few months, with reports of multiple shootings and shots fired downtown, in the Central Hillside and elsewhere in Duluth. Police Chief Mike Tusken confirmed at a news conference earlier this month that gun-related violence has outpaced the previous year.

In a separate incident early Sunday morning, police seized four loaded handguns and a loaded magazine during a traffic stop near the 100 block of East Fourth Street, a second news release said.

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Officers made the stop around 3:10 a.m. after a report of a vehicle swerving while exiting Interstate 35 onto Mesaba Avenue. A 25-year-old man was arrested for a warrant and on suspicion of possessing a firearm with an altered serial number, and a 29-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of possessing a firearm with an altered serial number and possessing a handgun in a motor vehicle.

Both men were booked into the St. Louis County Jail. The News Tribune generally does not name suspects until they have been formally charged.

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