A 17-year-old boy has been charged with second-degree murder in connection with the Jan. 10 shooting death of a 38-year-old man — the underlying case behind a no-knock warrant and predawn Minneapolis police raid last week that killed 22-year-old Amir Locke.
Ramsey County prosecutors filed a juvenile petition charging Mekhi C. Speed, of Minneapolis, with two counts of second-degree murder, and are seeking to certify him to be tried as an adult.
Speed and Locke are cousins, according to the charging document, which also revealed that Speed was living in a different unit of the Bolero Flats Apartment Homes, at 1117 S. Marquette Av., in downtown Minneapolis but also had access to the apartment where police barged in on Feb. 2 and shot Locke as he held a gun.
Officers responded to a 911 call in St. Paul’s Hamline-Midway neighborhood last month, where they found Otis R. Elder in the street suffering from a gunshot wound outside a music recording studio on the 500 block of N. Prior Avenue. He died at Regions Hospital.
As their investigation progressed last week, St. Paul police filed standard applications for search warrant affidavits for three Bolero Flats apartments. But detectives were forced to resubmit the requests after Minneapolis police insisted on a no-knock entry.
MPD would not have agreed to execute the search in its jurisdiction otherwise, according to a law enforcement source who spoke on the condition of anonymity. St. Paul police rarely execute no-knock warrants because they are considered high-risk. The capital city police force has not served such a warrant since 2016, said department spokesman Steve Linders.
Locke, who was not a target of the investigation, was sleeping in the apartment of relatives when members of a Minneapolis police SWAT team burst in shortly before 7 a.m.
Footage from one of the officers’ body cameras showed police quietly unlocking the apartment door with a key before barging inside, yelling “Search warrant!” as Locke lay under a blanket on the couch. An officer kicked the couch, Locke stirred, holding a firearm in his right hand. He was shot by officer Mark Hanneman within seconds.
Along with prosecutors detailing their case Elder’s death, they also spelled out in the charging document some of the circumstances of the raid that ended with Locke being killed:
In the seventh-floor apartment where Locke was shot were Speed’s brother and the brother’s girlfriend. Officers seized a jacket that police believe Speed was wearing on the night Elder was shot, the gun belonging to Locke and marijuana.
In the search of a second apartment, this one on the 14th floor and where Speed lived with his mother, officers seized a hat that police suspect Speed was wearing when he shot Elder and other items associated with two people believed to be with Speed soon after the Jan. 10 shooting.
The search of the third apartment, also on the 14th floor and associated with a friend of Speed’s, turned up “a large amount of marijuana.”
Law enforcement began searching for Speed on Jan. 24, about two weeks after Elder’s killing. They kept tabs on places where he was known to frequent and stayed in touch with his mother and his probation officer.
On Sunday, officers located Speed in Winona, where he tried to flee capture. One officer grabbed the teen’s jacket. Speed wriggled out of the jacket but was soon apprehended. Inside the jacket was a loaded gun. It appeared to be the same jacket that Speed had on when he shot Elder.
Speed, who turns 18 in about a month, declined to speak with investigators. The charges did not elaborate on what led him to Winona, nearly 120 miles south of Minneapolis, or how long he had been there.
Elder leaves behind two young sons.
“That little boy stole my brother’s life,” his younger sister, Motika Elder, told the Star Tribune. “He never did nothing wrong to anyone. There was no reason for him to be killed.”
A St. Paul investigator called the Elder family Tuesday morning to inform them of the arrest, she said, noting that Speed didn’t appear to know Elder before the fatal encounter. A police spokesman declined to comment on that, citing an active investigation.
“O – as most of you knew him – absolutely loved these streets of St. Paul,” his cousin, April Fleming, eulogized at his funeral last month. “It’s gut-wrenching to know that these same streets took him away from us.”