A 15-year-old with a criminal record was arrested Tuesday in connection to the murder of 34-year-old Julia (Yuliya) Li, a businesswoman who moved to the United States in 2007 to study at the University of Minnesota.
She was shot to death Feb. 16 just before 7 p.m. on the 1000 block of Payne Avenue in St. Paul. Police found her inside her vehicle, alive but suffering from a gunshot wound. She was transported to Regions Hospital and died a short time later.
The shooting was random, a source told Alpha News.
“Sadly, this is yet another example of how our system has failed to put victims first, failed to help a young person going down a dangerous and destructive path, and failed our entire community,” St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell said in a statement.
He said the criminal justice system failed to hold the arrested party accountable for his previous crimes. The name of the 15-year-old suspect has not been released and juvenile court records are not publicly available in Minnesota.
The teen was arrested by the Minneapolis Police Department and is currently being held in the Hennepin County Jail for second-degree murder and “other crimes committed in Hennepin County.”
“If every spoke in the criminal justice wheel had worked to hold this teen accountable for previous crimes, Ms. Li would be here, the suspect would have received help and consequences to right his course, and our city would not have suffered the trauma of echoing gunshots,” Axtell added. “This tragedy was entirely preventable.”
Li joined H.B. Fuller in a marketing role in July 2017, a company spokesperson told Alpha News. She was most recently employed as a global business director and led the company’s Amazon business project.
Li moved to the United States in 2007 to study at the University of Minnesota, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in economics and global studies. She left the Twin Cities to work in brand management and marketing for GE and Procter & Gamble before returning to St. Paul in 2016 to earn her MBA from the University of St. Thomas.
She is survived by her parents, sister, and husband.
“This tragic, senseless violence brought an end to the life of a bright, well-respected, committed, hard-working professional who will be greatly missed by everyone who knew her,” said Jim Owens, president and CEO of H.B. Fuller. “It is even more gut-wrenching to learn that, had this young suspect not fallen through the cracks and had he received proper guidance and support, a community would not have been terrorized, and Julia would be alive today.”