A teenager is under arrest and charged with homicide in St. Paul – the case that prompted police to execute search warrants last week, in which a Minneapolis officer fatally shot Amir Locke.
Mekhi Camden Speed, 17, of Minneapolis, was a cousin of Locke, according to second-degree murder charges filed against Speed.
Police announced on Tuesday that they had taken Speed into custody in connection with the January 10, fatal shooting of Otis R. Elder, 38. Elder was found lying on the street in the 500 block of North Prior Avenue between University Avenue and Interstate 94 in St. Paul. The charges allege Elder was shot during a robbery or attempted robbery.
Speed lived in Bolero Flats, the downtown Minneapolis apartment building where police served search warrants last week and where an officer shot Locke. Locke, 22, was not named in the search warrants, Acting Minneapolis Police Chief Amelia Huffman said last week.
“All available information confirms that Amir was never the target of this investigation or these search warrants,” Locke family attorneys Ben Crump, Jeff Storms and Antonio Romanucci said Tuesday. “We must remain focused on the fact that Amir was an innocent young man in a raid gone horribly wrong, who is now the latest statistic and victim of dangerous and intrusive no-knock techniques that must be banned.”
The search warrants police obtained were for three apartments in Bolero Flats at 1117 Marquette Ave. S. One involved Speed’s brother’s girlfriend’s apartment, which Speed also had a key to, according to the petition. Speed’s brother, girlfriend and Locke were present when police entered to search at 6:48 a.m. on February 2.
Other search warrants were for the apartment where Speed resided with his mother and an apartment where a friend of Speed was associated; the three were not there during the searches.
According to the juvenile petition against Speed, police had “probable cause attended and withheld” to arrest Speed and two of his associates for murder and assisting an offender after the fact.
St. Paul police applied for a ‘knock and announce’ warrantbut Minneapolis police said they would not execute the warrant unless it was “unstruck,” after which St. Paul rewrote the warrant and a judge signed it, sources said Friday. policewomen.
Minneapolis police say Locke pointed a loaded gun “in the direction of the officers” after using a key to enter the apartment and announcing their presence. Locke’s parents said Friday that the Minneapolis SWAT team woke him up; they said he was law-abiding, had no criminal record, and had a gun license.
AFTER SHOT, STOLEN VEHICLE FOUND IN MINNEAPOLIS
The Ramsey County District Attorney’s Office is seeking to have Speed tried as an adult. A petition from the juvenile court details the allegations against him:
Elder was found shot dead near a Chevrolet Tahoe around 9:30 p.m. on January 10. The driver’s side door was open and there was loose cash and suspected marijuana in the front of the vehicle. There was a large amount of blood on the driver’s seat, driver’s door, and armrest, as well as a worn socket on the floor near the driver’s door.
Someone who was talking to Elder on the phone when he was shot told police “it looked like Elder was doing a drug deal and someone was sitting in the front seat of the car. Elder,” the court’s motion reads. “…The witness heard what sounded like a struggle. The witness heard a man say, “If you don’t give up, pop the ******”. The phone call then ended abruptly.
Another person saw a Mercedes-Benz driving away.
An investigator obtained video that showed a vehicle, later determined to be the Mercedes-Benz, park near Elder’s vehicle at 9:20 p.m. door, where brother was sitting. The man backed up and a resounding gunshot was heard. He then opened Elder’s door and picked up items from the ground and inside the vehicle. He and the other man ran towards the Mercedes.
Police found the vehicle on January 21 in a downtown parking ramp near Bolero Flats.
Investigators suspect the Mercedes-Benz, which was stolen in November, was used in previous crimes – it was linked to the December 6 and 28 armed robberies, an attempted armed robbery on December 28, a firearms report on December 28, a police chase on December 28, and a robbery on January 4.
Police reviewed videos that showed the Mercedes-Benz stopped at Bolero Flats at 9:38 p.m. on January 10. Shortly after, someone parked the vehicle on the parking ramp and the men got out. The man suspected of shooting Elder was seen wearing a dark jacket and using a key to enter Bolero Flats.
Investigators spoke to people at Bolero Flats on January 24, who identified the man seen in the video as Speed, according to the petition. He was on the list of occupants of his mother’s apartment in the building. A person who returned with Speed has been identified as being associated with another apartment in the building, which police also searched last week.
During the search of the apartment where Speed’s brother, his girlfriend and Locke were staying, investigators seized a jacket that appeared to be what Speed was wearing when he exited the vehicle at the parking ramp, according to the petition. Officers found a bullet and marijuana in the apartment, as well as a firearm in Locke’s possession.
A latent fingerprint found on a Mercedes-Benz door has been identified as Speed’s, the petition states.
In the apartment where Speed and his mother were listed as occupants, investigators found a jacket that appeared to be the one worn by an unidentified man who was with Speed when he visited Bolero Flats. after Elder was shot. Investigators believe the man was the person who sat in the front passenger seat of Elder’s vehicle.
As of Tuesday afternoon, police had not arrested anyone else in the homicide, which they say remains an open and active investigation.
ARREST BRINGS RELIEF TO FAMILY OF MAN SHOT IN ST. PAUL
Officers attempted to locate Speed beginning January 24, monitoring his residence and other places he spent time, and contacting his mother and his probation officer.
On Monday, Speed was located in Winona around 3:45 p.m. He was a passenger in a vehicle, which officers found at a gas station, according to Winona police.
He tried to run away and an officer grabbed his jacket, which he struggled with. Police arrested him and found a loaded gun in his jacket, according to the petition. Speed was taken to Ramsey County Juvenile Detention Center. He did not speak to investigators.
Elder’s mother, Shandra McKinley, said she felt a little better on Tuesday after learning of the arrest.
“I thank God because he didn’t deserve this,” she said.
Elder was the father of two sons, ages 1 and 14, who his family say he loved and cared for.
“He was the absolute best brother ever, he had so much to live for,” said one sister, Motika Elder. “And I know finding the shooter won’t bring my brother back, but that definitely puts my mind at rest.”
ON PROBATION FOR A TURNING PAST
Speed’s family had not decided on Tuesday which lawyer would represent him and his first court appearance was postponed until next week.
Ramsey County Assistant District Attorney Heidi Westby requested on Tuesday that Judge Stephen Smith order Speed to remain in custody, which Smith agreed to. Based on the petition’s allegations, there are “sufficient grounds to be concerned about public safety,” Smith said.
Speed was on supervised probation after pleading guilty to assault with a dangerous weapon for shooting another man in Brooklyn Park in September 2020, court records show. Speed, who was 16 at the time, was sentenced under what is known as extended juvenile jurisdiction, meaning he received both an adult sentence and a child sentence. minor.
His three-year adult prison sentence was suspended as long as he met the terms of his probation. He was placed on probation until age 21 and spent time at the West Regional Juvenile Center in northwestern Minnesota, where he was to participate in an individualized treatment program, including job training and trauma therapy.
Records show he violated probation last summer – including testing positive for marijuana and failing to attend school regularly – and he was taken into the custody of his mother in last October and put under electronic surveillance for 30 days, with time off to go to school.
This story contains information from The Associated Press.