Charges say a Fridley man fatally shot Ahmed Elsaied, 31, inside the Artistry on 10th high rise apartment building in downtown Minneapolis Sunday evening and then threw the gun onto the rooftop of WCCO-TV.
Mohamed Ahmed Said Zaher, 21, has been charged with second-degree murder without intent and first-degree manslaughter in the case in which he initially told police a masked intruder had shot his friend.
Police were dispatched about 7:45 p.m. on Sunday to a report of a shot heard near 10th and Nicollet Mall, according to dispatch audio. While on the way to the area, police were informed by the dispatcher that a witness reported seeing a man throw a gun onto the rooftop of the WCCO building, which sits at the corner of 11th and Nicollet Mall.
The dispatcher updated police again, saying a person at 95 South 10th Street was reporting a shooting. When police arrived, a male in the lobby of the building, later identified as Zaher, said his friend had been shot on the 13th floor. Police made their way to the 13th floor where they found a shooting victim and cleared EMS into the scene. Police aired that they could see a gun on the roof of the WCCO building. Dispatch audio indicated that Zaher told police an unknown-race male in a mask had shot the victim.
The witness claims they saw the gun thrown from the balcony of the apartment building where the shot came from and onto the WCCO roof.
Police made entry to a 13th floor apt, requesting EMS Code 3. And they see a gun on the roof of WCCO. pic.twitter.com/TQDb7Z9SN1
— CrimeWatchMpls (@CrimeWatchMpls) August 8, 2022
A statement later released by the Minneapolis Police Department said a male in his 30s with at least one gunshot wound died from his injuries and was a resident of the apartment. Police confirmed that they found a gun on the WCCO rooftop and that a male was taken into custody at the scene. The homicide was the city’s 56th for the year.
Zaher was formally charged on Wednesday. The charging document states that when police first encountered Zaher, he had visible blood spatter on his clothing and hands. He was upset and said his friend had been shot on the 13th floor. He claimed a man with a black mask ran by and said he found his friend shot. Zaher was detained while officers investigated the scene.
Police found Elsaied unresponsive on the floor with a gunshot wound to the side of his head and a large amount of blood. Officers also located a firearm magazine on the floor near Elsaied, who was later pronounced deceased at the hospital.
Officers spoke with a witness, who lives in the apartment next to Elsaied’s apartment. She reported hearing a gunshot and then hearing screams. The witness went to her balcony, where shortly after hearing the screams she saw Zaher step out onto the balcony with blood spatter on his clothes. He stated, “No, no, no,” and then threw a firearm onto the roof of the nearby WCCO building.
The criminal complaint, which lists a Fridley address for Zaher, says Zaher told police in a post-Miranda interview that he was friends with Elsaied and had been staying with him in his apartment for several months.
Zaher initially claimed he left Elsaied in the apartment for approximately 15 minutes while he visited another friend in the building.
He said when he returned to the 13th floor, he saw a man wearing a ski mask running from Elsaied’s apartment. He told police he entered the apartment to find Elsaied shot. He said he found a gun and magazine and “went crazy” and could not think. He didn’t know why, but he picked up the gun and threw it off the balcony, he told police.
When police confronted Zaher with the timeline inconsistencies in his story based on other witness statements, he changed his story. Zaher told police he and Elsaied were in the apartment together and he was handling Elsaied’s handgun. While trying to pull the slide back, Zaher stated he had his finger on the trigger and the gun went off. After seeing that Elsaied was shot, he went to the balcony and threw the gun onto a nearby building.
Zaher remains in custody on $750,000 bail and is scheduled to make his first court appearance on Thursday afternoon.
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