Twin Cities weekend crime recap

Arrests made in the Mall of America shooting, two homicides in Minneapolis, and more in this week's crime recap.

A suspected intentionally set fire damaged several Burnsville apartment units Saturday. (Burnsville Police Department)

Columbia Heights police reported that a family was carjacked at gunpoint just after midnight Thursday on the 4600 block of Central Avenue Northeast. Officers were able to track and recover the stolen vehicle in Brooklyn Center with the help of the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, Minnesota State Patrol and the Brooklyn Center Police Department. A gun was recovered in the vehicle. A juvenile male and a juvenile female were arrested and transported to the Regional Juvenile Center in Anoka County, and an adult male was arrested, police said. Further information about the arrested parties or possible charges was not immediately available.

Bloomington police on Thursday afternoon responded to a shots-fired incident inside the Mall of America. Social media reports began appearing before 4:30 p.m. that showed video clips of people streaming out of the mall and others in lockdown in back rooms. Dispatch audio from the incident indicated that police had not immediately found any injured parties, but they described “a lot of blood” and a blood trail leading out to a parking ramp. Police also described from security video that several black male parties had been involved in a fight at or near the Nike store at the time of the shots.

Further audio indicated that the suspects had left the mall and had possibly boarded a hotel shuttle bus. A police perimeter was stationed for hours around the nearby Best Western Hotel where the suspects were thought to be holed up.

Meanwhile, other videos began appearing on social media that had captured the sound of shots and people running in the area of the Nike store.

Police eventually released a statement and held a press conference stating that the suspects had not been located at the hotel. Police Chief Booker T. Hodges said one of his officers was near the scene when it happened and heard gunshots by the Nike store around 4:15 p.m., and that officers were on the scene within 30 seconds.

Chief Hodges urged the perpetrators to turn themselves in. “But should you choose not to, our officers, our partners, our detectives will not stop until we lock you up,” Hodges said.

Bloomington police held a press conference Monday afternoon to announce arrests in the case. Three people, including a Best Western employee, have been charged for aiding an offender. The two primary suspects, Shamar Lark and Rashad May, are still on the run.

Minneapolis police on Thursday requested the public’s help in identifying two people of interest in relation to the July 10 homicide of Ivan James Redday, 22, on the 2500 block of Cedar Avenue. Anyone who knows the location of or knows the identity of the pictured individuals is encouraged to call CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). Tips may be submitted electronically at www.CrimeStoppersMN.org. All Tips are anonymous and persons providing information leading to an arrest and conviction may be eligible for a financial reward.

Columbia Heights police responded to two firearms incidents in two days Thursday and Friday. In the first, officers responded just before midnight Thursday on a report of shots fired on the 3800 block of Stinson Boulevard, near the borders of both Minneapolis and St. Anthony. A 911 caller reported seeing a male fire about seven shots behind an apartment building at the location, according to dispatch audio. Police, including officers from St. Anthony, responded to the area and located a suspect a short time later who matched the description provided, and he was detained. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

Columbia Heights police released a statement on Monday stating that a suspect had been detained at the time, but officers couldn’t find any evidence of shots being fired. After continuing to investigate, a loaded firearm and spent shell casings were located by police the following morning, as well as video surveillance of the incident.

Willie Earl Morrow, 42, of Columbia Heights was booked into custody on probable cause charges of felon in possession of a firearm and discharge of a firearm in a municipality. Jail and court records show Morrow also has several open warrants.

Willie Earl Morrow, left, and Javen Nathaniel Strait. (Anoka County Jail)

The second firearm incident occurred on Friday just before 6:30 p.m. when police were dispatched to a report of a male waving a firearm around in an alley west of 44th and Central Avenue Northeast. A male fled on foot when officers arrived. The male was taken into custody following a chase and search with the assistance of Fridley police. After another thorough and lengthy search, police said a loaded pistol was recovered.

Javen Nathaniel Strait, 28, of Rogers was booked into jail on probable cause charges of terroristic threats, illegal possession of a firearm, and fleeing police.

Columbia Heights police said both incidents continue to be investigated.

Minneapolis city crews on Friday cleared the homeless encampment near the Midtown Greenway between Nicollet and Blaisdell avenues. The location was the site of a shooting homicide last Tuesday evening. Photos posted on social media following the clearing showed that fencing had been installed and a police pole camera was mounted in the area.

Video previously captured by Alpha News in early June showed the condition of the encampment area with dozens of tents and large amounts of trash, debris and bicycles piled around the area of the former K-Mart building and its parking lot on Lake Street.

The Nicollet encampment clearing came just two weeks after another problematic encampment was razed in south Minneapolis following the destruction of three homes in a fire on the 2800 block of 14th Avenue South that started in a vacant home. Neighbors had complained about the rise in crime and livability issues in the neighborhood since a nearby encampment had been established. Police confirmed in a media statement following the encampment removal that crime had risen 53% in that neighborhood over the prior month and said the encampment was cleared due to “ongoing public safety concerns.”

Burnsville fire crews and police on Saturday responded to a multi-unit residential fire just before 9 a.m. at the Parkvue Flats Apartments at 1501 Burnsville Parkway (top photo). Several residents had to be evacuated, and two civilians and a firefighter were treated for minor injuries or ailments. Fire crews from Apple Valley and Eagan also assisted during the incident, and the Red Cross made additional support available to residents.

Burnsville police later released a statement saying that residents from approximately 50 units had been displaced due to the fire. Police said that the initial investigation indicated that the fire had been intentionally set and that an arrest had been made.

Jourdan Nige Robert Murray-Thigpen/Dakota County Jail

Dakota County Jail records show that Jourdan Nige Robert Murray-Thigpen, 27, was booked into custody on probable cause charges of first-degree arson, terroristic threats, interfering with a 911 call and two misdemeanor counts of fifth-degree assault. Murray-Thigpen remained in custody as of noon Monday but had not been formally charged.

Law enforcement in Washington County sent out a “Code Red” message alert to residents in the Lake Elmo area Saturday afternoon to notify them of a search for suspects in the area of the 8600 block of Stillwater Boulevard North. Dispatch audio during the incident indicated that police had performed a PIT maneuver on a fleeing vehicle before 2 p.m. and that several juvenile black males had fled on foot from the vehicle after crashing.

Initial dispatch audio stated that at least one of the males in a camo sweatshirt had been running with a gun in his hand and had refused to drop it following multiple commands by police.

One suspect was taken into custody at gunpoint within several minutes of the initial crash, but the search for others continued until nearly 5 p.m.

The City of Woodbury Public Safety Department later posted an update saying that police had been called to Cabela’s at 8400 Hudson Road in their city for a report of a disturbance. Employees had reported several teens were involved in a disturbance and shoplifting incident. Responding officers learned that the teens were associated with a stolen vehicle, and that the suspects attempted to steal items from the store, which included an airsoft gun and a pistol magazine. As police arrived on scene, the suspect vehicle fled and attempted to head straight into a patrol car.

The subsequent search for the suspects was assisted by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Minnesota State Patrol, and police departments from the cities of Oakdale, North St. Paul, and Cottage Grove. The coordinated search included the use of police K9 units and unmanned aerial systems (UAS).

Police said seven juveniles were taken into custody without incident. The suspects range in age from 12 years old to 15 years old and are all juvenile males. Police said that was all the information they were allowed to release on the juveniles.

Brooklyn Center police said in a statement that their officers encountered a violent felon on Saturday at about 8:20 p.m. who resisted arrest. Officers initially encountered the suspect riding on a motorized bicycle; the male was driving it in the roadway recklessly in all lanes of traffic. Officers tried to initiate a stop with the suspect who attempted to flee on the motorized bicycle and was stopped several blocks later after falling off the bike in the area of 56th Avenue North and Knox Avenue North. A fight ensued and the suspect pulled a handgun from his waistband.

The firearm recovered by Brooklyn Center police. (Brooklyn Center Police Department)

Officers fought to control the weapon and eventually got it out of his hand, threw it away, and officers were able to arrest this suspect. Officers on scene were able to keep calm in a tense and rapidly evolving situation where their lives and the public were put in danger due to the selfish actions of the suspect, the statement said. Officers arrested the felon in possession of a firearm. The firearm serial number was obliterated, which is often done to hide the fact that it’s stolen. No one was seriously injured in the encounter. Further information about the arrested party was not immediately available.

Minneapolis recorded two homicides over the weekend, numbers 55 and 56 for the city this year. The first occurred early Sunday morning at 38th and Chicago Avenue, the area known as “George Floyd Square.” Police were dispatched about 3:20 a.m. on multiple reports of approximately 20 shots heard in the area, according to dispatch audio. The dispatcher advised police that the incident had been updated to a shooting. Police arrived and found a male down on the ground. The dispatcher later aired that one or two more victims had shown up at the hospital related to the shooting.

A statement later released by police said that an adult male had died at the scene and that he had been found in the street near the sidewalk. A running vehicle was also located by police nearby, and it was also damage by gunfire. The vehicle appeared to belong to the deceased male, police said. No mention was made in the MPD statement about any other victims. The deceased party has since been identified by the medical examiner as Mohamed Ali Omar, 29, of Minneapolis.

The second Minneapolis homicide occurred Sunday just after 7:30 p.m. in downtown. Police were dispatched to a report of one shot heard in the area of South 10th Street and Nicollet Mall, according to dispatch audio. The dispatcher subsequently updated that a 911 caller said they saw a person toss a gun from a balcony onto the roof of the WCCO building, which sits at the corner of 11th and Nicollet Mall. The dispatcher updated police again that a person at 95 South 10th Street was reporting a shooting. When police arrived, a male in the lobby of the building said their friend had been shot on the 13th floor. Police arrived and 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. The victim’s friend told police that an unknown-race male in a mask had shot the victim. Police later aired that a suspect was in custody.

A statement later released by MPD said a male in his 30s with at least one gunshot wound had died from his injuries; he was a resident of the apartment. Police confirmed that they found a gun on the WCCO rooftop and that a male had been taken into custody at the scene. Police said they are continuing to investigate what led up to the shooting and determine the nature of the relationship between the deceased party and the person arrested. Jail records show that a 21-year-old male was booked into custody on a probable cause charge of second-degree manslaughter. He had not been formally charged as of 2 p.m. Monday.

Around Minnesota

The Wright County Sheriff’s Office reported Sunday that deputies had fatally shot a man who threatened deputies with a knife. The statement said deputies responded at approximately 12:52 a.m. to the 12000 block of 72nd Court Northeast in the City of Otsego. Reports indicated a man was having mental health challenges and had threatened physical harm to his family and himself. Upon arrival, law enforcement staff spoke with the man, who agreed to go to the hospital for an evaluation. While awaiting the arrival of the ambulance, the man ran into the kitchen and grabbed a knife. He fled the home and ran into the neighborhood. Squads set up a perimeter and requested additional support from the Minnesota State Patrol helicopter. A short time later, the man confronted deputies in a neighboring backyard. Two deputies attempted to tase the subject, but it was not successful. While in close proximity to the deputies, the subject physically threatened them with the knife. Two deputies discharged their firearms, striking the subject.

Law enforcement personnel immediately attempted life saving measures until paramedics arrived, the statement said. The subject was transported to North Memorial Hospital where he died a short time later. Deputies involved in the incident have been placed on administrative leave which is standard operating procedure in an officer involved shooting. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has been called in to investigate this incident.

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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.