A teen is arrested and charged in a St. Paul homicide — the case that prompted police to execute search warrants last week, during which a Minneapolis officer fatally shot Amir Locke.
Mekhi Camden Speed, of Minneapolis, was a cousin of Locke’s, according to second-degree murder charges filed against Speed.
Police said Tuesday they took Speed into custody in the Jan. 10 fatal shooting of Otis R. Elder, 38. Elder was found lying in 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.
Locke, 22, wasn’t named in the search warrants, Interim Minneapolis Police Chief Amelia Huffman said last week.
Speed lived in Bolero Flats, the apartment building in downtown Minneapolis where police carried out the search warrants last week and where an officer shot Locke.
Police had “probable cause pick up and holds” to arrest Speed and two of his associates for murder and aiding an offender after the fact, according to the juvenile petition against Speed.
The search warrants that police obtained were for three apartments in Bolero Flats at 1117 Marquette Ave. One was the unit where Speed resided with his mother, and another was for an apartment where a friend of Speed’s was associated; the three were not there during the searches.
Another search warrant was for Speed’s brother’s girlfriend’s apartment, for which Speed also had a key, according to the petition. Speed’s brother, his girlfriend and Locke were present when police entered to search at 6:48 a.m. on Feb. 2.
St. Paul police sought a “knock and announce” warrant, but Minneapolis police said they would not carry out the warrant unless it was “no knock,” law enforcement sources said Friday.
Minneapolis police said Locke pointed a loaded gun “in the direction of officers” after they used a key to enter the apartment in Bolero Flats. Locke’s parents said Friday that the Minneapolis SWAT team had woken him; they said he was law-abiding, with no criminal record, and had a permit to carry a gun.
AFTER SHOOTING, STOLEN VEHICLE FOUND IN MINNEAPOLIS
A juvenile court petition against Speed details the allegations against him:
Elder was found Jan. 10 about 9:30 p.m. shot near a Chevrolet Tahoe. 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 arm rest, along with a spent shell casing on the ground near the driver’s door.
Someone who was talking to Elder on the phone when he was shot told police “that it sounded as if Elder was conducting a drug transaction and that someone was sitting in the front seat of Elder’s car,” the court petition said. “… The witness heard what sounded like a struggle. The witness heard a male state, ‘If you do not give it up, pop the ******.’ The phone call then abruptly ended.”
Another person saw a Mercedes-Benz speeding away.
An investigator obtained a video that showed a vehicle, later determined to be the Mercedes-Benz, park near Elder’s vehicle at 9:20 p.m. Two males left the Mercedes — one went in the passenger side of Elder’s vehicle and the other stood outside the driver’s door, where Elder was sitting. The male stepped back and a loud gunshot was heard. He then opened Elder’s door, and picked up items from the ground and inside the vehicle. He and the other male ran back to the Mercedes.
A Minneapolis officer saw the vehicle on Jan. 21 in a downtown parking ramp near Bolero Flats. Investigators recovered the vehicle.
Police suspected the Mercedes-Benz, which was stolen in November, was used in previous crimes — it was linked to Dec. 6 and Dec. 28 armed robberies, an attempted armed robbery on Dec. 28, a gun report on Dec. 28, a police pursuit on Dec. 28 and a theft on Jan. 4.
Police reviewed other videos that showed the Mercedes-Benz pulled up to Bolero Flats at 9:38 p.m. on Jan. 10. Soon after, someone parked the vehicle in the parking ramp and males exited. The male suspected of shooting Elder was seen wearing a dark jacket, light-colored hooded sweatshirt and white shoes, and he used a key to get into Bolero Flats.
Police talked with people at Bolero Flats on Jan. 24, who identified the male seen in the video as Speed, according to the petition. In addition to being listed as an occupant of his mother’s apartment, he had a key for his brother’s apartment in the building. A person who returned with Speed was identified as being associated with another apartment in the building, which is also where police searched last week.
During the search at the apartment where Speed’s brother, his girlfriend and Locke were staying, investigators seized a jacket that appeared on video to the be one that 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, along with a gun in Locke’s possession.
A latent fingerprint found on a door of the Mercedes-Benz was identified as Speed’s, the petition said.
At the apartment where Speed and his mother were listed as occupants, investigators found a jacket that appeared to the be one worn by an unidentified male who was with Speed when he went to Bolero Flats after Elder was shot. Investigators believe the male was the person who sat in the front passenger seat of Elder’s vehicle.
ARREST BRINGS RELIEF TO FAMILY OF MAN SHOT IN ST. PAUL
Many law enforcement officers tried to find Speed from Jan. 24 to Sunday, including surveilling his residence and other places he spent time, and contacting his mother and probation officer.
On Monday, Speed was found in Winona about 3:45 p.m. He tried to run away and an officer grabbed his jacket, which he struggled out of. Police found a loaded gun in his jacket, according to the petition. Members of the Southwest Metro Task Force, Ramsey County Violent Crime Enforcement Team and St. Paul police Special Investigations Unit were involved in his arrest.
Speed was taken to the Ramsey County Juvenile Detention Center. He did not speak with investigators.
Elder’s mother, Shandra McKinley, said she was feeling a little better Tuesday after getting word of the arrest.
“I thank God because he did not deserve this,” she said.
Elder was the father of two sons, ages 1 and 14, who he loved and cared for.
“He was the absolute best brother ever, he just had so much to live for,” said a sister, Motika Elder. “And I know finding the shooter will not bring my brother back but it definitely put my heart at ease.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism