Twin Cities weekend crime recap

Exavir Dwayne Binford was charged Friday with second-degree attempted murder and first-degree assault after a 16-year-old boy was shot in the head outside the Oxford Community Center in St. Paul on Wednesday.

Shawn Franklin Sunt (MN Dept. of Corrections)

The Brooklyn Center Police Department reported on Thursday that a suspect was arrested after leading State Patrol on a pursuit in a stolen vehicle through several areas and also traveled the wrong way on highways several times. The pursuit was terminated at one point following safety concerns when the suspect exited onto city streets.

The vehicle was observed by officers while it continued to drive erratically and dangerously and nearly struck a Hennepin County deputy’s squad, BCPD said. The vehicle was eventually observed on state highway cameras, and officers found the vehicle abandoned near 50th Avenue North and Lilac Drive.

While officers were setting up a new perimeter search for the suspect, he was observed on camera by dispatch carjacking another vehicle in the area of 47th and Drew Avenue North. Officers were able to perform a PIT maneuver and pin the newly carjacked vehicle into a snowbank.

The suspect did not cooperate for an extensive period of time, and two less lethal 40mm foam rounds were fired at the driver’s window by deputies in an attempt to make verbal contact with the driver. Soon after the deployment of the less lethal rounds, the suspect opened the driver’s door and surrendered. Officers recovered a replica firearm in the backseat of the carjacked vehicle.

Repeat offender, Shawn Franklin Sunt (top photo), 27, was taken into custody and was charged on Friday with first-degree aggravated robbery and fleeing police in a motor vehicle, both felonies. Sunt, who is on parole and has 17 prior convictions including 11 felonies, remains in custody on $100,000 bail.

The Brooklyn Park Police Department announced on Thursday the arrest of Benjamin Perry Richardson, III, in connection to the June 22, 2021, shooting homicide of 22-year-old Alameen Allah Shabazz.

Benjamin Perry Richardson, III (Bedford County, VA, Sheriff’s Office)

Richardson was arrested in Forest, Va., on Tuesday and is being held for extradition to Minnesota. The Bedford County Sheriff’s Office in Virginia posted that Richardson was taken into custody without incident after receiving information from BPPD that Richardson was believed to be at an apartment complex in the city of Forest. Several firearms, ammunition, and data storing devices were seized during the search of the residence, the sheriff’s office said.

According to information provided by BPPD, Shabazz was shot before 10 p.m. in front of the Nice Family African Market at 7401 Regent Avenue. Witnesses told police that a male suspect was sitting in his car and opened fire upon another male who was walking in front of the store. The victim then entered a nearby vehicle as a passenger and the vehicle drove off. Officers located the victim’s vehicle being driven by his girlfriend. The victim was found unconscious and had sustained numerous gunshot wounds and died as a result of his injuries. A motive has not yet been revealed for the shooting.

Officers with the Minneapolis Police Department on Thursday were able to capture a dog that had been stolen along with a vehicle earlier that morning.

The vehicle had been reported stolen approximately 30 minutes prior from the 3300 block of Elliot Avenue. Police aired after 8 a.m. that they had potentially spotted the stolen vehicle near 12th Avenue South and East Lake Street. When they turned around to get another look, they saw the dog running toward Lake Street, according to dispatch audio at the time. They went after the dog and were able to safely capture her. The stolen vehicle was able to be recovered, but no suspects were present by the time police were able to return to it.

The Chisago County Sheriff’s Office reported Friday that they found a father and son in the process of burglarizing a barn and outbuildings at a property.

The father was hiding in a snowbank and was found by officers using a handheld thermal camera. Both suspects were taken into custody. CCSO said both parties were on probation.

Jail records show Stefan Arnason Egilsson, 56, and Stefan Arni Egilsson, 30, were booked into custody on charges of probable cause burglary. They remained in custody as of Monday; formal charges had not yet been listed.

Stefan Egilsson, 56, and Stefan Egilsson, 30 (Prior mugshots/Anoka County Jail)

Court records show the pair has 57 convictions between them — 39 for the elder Egilsson and 18 for the younger.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension reported Friday that Larry Eddie Konah, Jr., 26, was sentenced to prison related to a Ramsey County sex trafficking case. Charges say Konah had been prostituting his girlfriend out of various Minnesota hotels and motels, including a Vadnais Heights hotel where she passed a note to staff who then called police.

Charges say Konah used violence and coercion to force the victim to engage in commercial sex acts for months. The victim told investigators that she averaged three to four customers a day and that Konah required her to make between $600-$1,000 per day before she was allowed to stop. The victim said that Konah kept and controlled all the money made from the commercial sex acts.

Following his arrest last July, Konah was initially charged with promoting prostitution of an individual, receiving profits from prostitution, and sex trafficking an individual — all felonies.

Under the terms of a plea deal, Konah agreed to plead guilty in October to just one charge of receiving profits from prostitution. As part of the plea deal, the other two counts were dismissed at sentencing this past Thursday. The plea deal also called for sentencing at the “low end” of the sentencing guidelines grid, which calls for a sentence ranging from 41 to 57 months, with a standard sentence of 48 months for an offender with Konah’s criminal history score.

Konah was sentenced to 41 months in prison by Judge Reynaldo A. Aligada, Jr. who approved the plea deal and sentenced Konah on the low end of the sentencing spectrum.

Minnesota law only requires offenders to serve two-thirds of their sentence incarcerated. As such, Konah will serve about 27 months in prison with an expected release date of March 2025.

Alex William Palmer, 24, of Stacy, Minn., made a first court appearance on Friday in Chisago County District Court charged in four new cases comprising 10 felonies.

Alex William Palmer (supplied by North Branch Police Dept.)

North Branch police reported on Wednesday about 1:20 p.m. that they along with the Chisago County Sheriff’s Office were searching for Palmer in the area of 370th Street and Evergreen Trail and that he was a suspect in multiple felony crimes. Just after 3 p.m., they updated that Palmer was in custody.

A search of court records shows Palmer has 16 prior Minnesota convictions including five felonies. In October 2022, Palmer pled guilty to felony fleeing police in a motor vehicle. His 12-month prison sentence was stayed by Isanti County Judge Amy R. Brosnahan. Palmer was instead credited with 246 days already spent in jail and was placed on probation for one day and was immediately discharged from probation.

Most recently, Palmer pleaded guilty on Dec. 19, to what would be his sixth felony, on a count of fleeing police in a motor vehicle in a Ramsey County case. Court documents in that case indicate Palmer had been in a stolen vehicle in November when he led multiple law enforcement agencies in a pursuit on I-35 that included the use of a State Patrol helicopter. Palmer was released on zero bail by Judge Kellie Charles to await sentencing after pleading guilty in the case under the terms of a plea deal.

The new felony charges against Palmer include two cases from October and November that include auto theft in one case, and second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon and receiving stolen property in another case. Charges in the second case say Palmer purposely repeatedly rammed a vehicle on I-35 causing it to spin out of control into a ditch. The Ramsey County pursuit and fleeing charge, above, directly followed this incident.

One of the other new cases involves charges stemming from a Jan. 12 incident in which the criminal complaint says Palmer led law enforcement in Chisago County on another chase in a stolen vehicle and then threw two guns out the window of the vehicle. The pursuit was ultimately terminated, and Palmer got away at the time. Felony charges in that case include felon in possession of a firearm, possession of a short-barreled shotgun, fleeing police, fifth degree narcotics, and receiving stolen property.

Charges in the fourth case stem from last Wednesday’s incident in North Branch in which Palmer has been charged with obstructing the legal process and receiving stolen property.

Palmer remains in custody on bail amounts of $300,000 in each of the four new cases.

Exavir Dwayne Binford, Jr., 26, was charged Friday in Ramsey County District Court with second-degree attempted murder and first-degree assault after a 16-year-old boy was shot in the head outside the Oxford Community Center in St. Paul on Wednesday.

Exavir Dwayne Binford Jr. (Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office)

Charges say Binford, who was employed by St. Paul Parks and Rec and was working at the community center, became upset when a girl let a relative into the building, which was supposed to be locked down following a report of a previous fight at Central High School across the street. Witnesses told police that the victim and another teen argued with Binford outside the main doors of the rec center, and it escalated to a physical fight that ended up in the parking lot. Binford pulled out a gun and shot at the two teens, then fled.

One witness told police they heard Binford say, “If I got to kill somebody I will. I don’t give a f–k.”

Police apprehended Binford at his home on Stillwater Avenue and recovered a 9mm handgun. Binford, who had a permit to carry a handgun, told police that he carried his gun because he worked the graveyard shift at the rec center when it closed at 9 p.m. Binford said the rec center didn’t know he carried his gun at work.

Binford told investigators that he felt threatened by the teens and only pulled out his gun after they “f–ked him up.” Investigators noted that Binford had a busted lip and visible injuries to his right upper eyebrow area.

The teen was hospitalized with a life-threatening gunshot wound to the forehead and underwent emergency surgery. The boy remained in intensive care at the time of the complaint.

Binford made his first court appearance on Friday and was granted a public defender. He remains jailed on $500,000 bail.

Shots were fired just after 3 p.m. Friday in St. Paul near Washington Technology Magnet School during a fight, according to dispatch audio. Police responded and said that a staff member was bleeding and had possibly taken “shrapnel” in the ear. Police were reportedly told by staff that the fight occurred on school property, but the shots had occurred off school property. Police found spent shell casings at North Woodbridge Street and Nebraska Avenue West. The suspects at the time were reported to be Asian juveniles in a Honda vehicle.

Police later told media that the shots occurred during a fight between two groups of teens and that a staff member had been grazed in the ear and was treated on scene. The school went into lockdown and the Friday evening events were canceled. No arrests had been made at the time.

School authorities in Fridley and Columbia Heights canceled a scheduled basketball match on Friday over “safety concerns.” The information was aired to dispatch about 5:40 p.m. by an officer who was already on site at Fridley High School located at 6000 West Moore Lake Drive Northeast. The officer asked for other squads to respond to the area and stand by in case they were needed. The specific nature of the safety concern wasn’t specified over the air at the time.

A social media post earlier in the day on the Fridley Boys Basketball Facebook page indicated that several games were to take place Friday afternoon and evening between Fridley and Columbia Heights.

A school spokesperson responded to an email request for information with a brief response, again without stating the nature of the concern or whether there were ongoing safety concerns:

“Out of an abundance of caution, after receiving information about a potential safety situation, we decided to postpone yesterday’s varsity basketball game between Fridley and Columbia Heights while the matter is investigated. Additional information is not available at this time.”

Two separate people contacted Crime Watch and stated there had been a rumor of individuals planning to instigate a fight and bring a gun to the game, but that rumor was not able to be further substantiated with school authorities.

Responders including a tactical unit were dispatched in Minnetonka just after 11 a.m. Saturday on a report that male had fired off “50 to 60” rounds from his apartment window near the 3400 block of Oak Ridge Road. The incident was initially also dispatched as a shooting. Several agencies responded, and the building was at least partially evacuated, according to dispatch audio. Negotiators were reported to be on site, and the male was taken into custody just after 12:30 p.m.

Minnetonka police later released a statement saying that officers could hear multiple rounds of gunfire as they arrived at the apartment building located at 10233 34th Street West. They proceeded to evacuate residents from nearby apartments. Negotiators were utilized and the man was peacefully taken into custody, they said.

There were no injuries reported, and the incident remains under investigation. Minnetonka officers were assisted by the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office as well as the Hopkins, Eden Prairie, Edina and St. Louis Park police departments. Information on the detained party was not immediately made available.

Around Minnesota

Erick Fontain Thomas, 41, of Rochester was sentenced Friday to 16.5 years in federal prison related to what court documents describe as a “large scale” heroin and methamphetamine distribution operation.

Erick Fontain Thomas (Sherburne County Jail)

The investigation into Thomas began in 2020 when authorities executed a search warrant on Thomas’s Rochester residence. During the search, officers found 4.135 grams of heroin, 1.467 kilograms of methamphetamine, four loaded handguns, a loaded AR-15 style rifle, assorted ammunition and firearms accessories, drug cutting agents, digital scales, and a brick press.

Officers also went to a local FedEx Office in Rochester and seized a package that Thomas had directed another individual to send to him at a California address. The package contained $68,740 in cash drug proceeds.

Court records show Thomas, originally from Chicago, IL, was on parole for another Minnesota drug conviction at the time of his arrest and also had two other felony convictions for drugs and assault.

Thomas pleaded guilty in the federal case in August to one count of possession with the intent to distribute heroin and methamphetamine and will be required to serve a minimum of 85% of his sentence incarcerated followed by 10 years of supervised release.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety reported on Thursday that the remains of 42 people found over the years in Minnesota are still unidentified. The BCA suggested that the families of missing people can potentially help identify remains by providing DNA samples.

The BCA said there are also 122 people who are considered long-term missing persons, missing since before the advent of DNA testing. They said it’s possible that some of the long-term missing people are among the 42 unidentified remains, but they need information and DNA from their family members to find out.

Families can start the process by filing a missing person report with their local law enforcement agency if one has not already been filed. People can contact their local law enforcement agency to request to provide a DNA sample, or they can reach out to the BCA at 651-793-7000.

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Minnesota Crime Watch & Information publishes news, info and commentary about crime, public safety and livability issues in Minneapolis, the Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota.


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Minnesota Crime Watch & Information publishes news, info and commentary about crime, public safety and livability issues in Minneapolis, the Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota.