Charges: 21-year-old was pistol-whipped, then fatally shot in downtown fight

A 23-year-old man has been charged with murder.
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Varnell Allen

A 21-year-old man was walking with his girlfriend along Hennepin Avenue when he became embroiled in a fight that ultimately led to his death.

Varnell Allen, 23, of Columbia Heights, has been charged with the 2nd-degree murder of Enzo Herrera Garcia, 21, of Apple Valley, who died in Hennepin County Medical Center after being shot Saturday evening.

Charges filed against Allen says that Garcia was walking along Hennepin Avenue near 8th Street, in Minneapolis' theater district, around 10:20 p.m. Saturday when a silver vehicle driven by Allen pulled up alongside them.

The occupants of the car yelled someone out of the window, with Herrera Garcia then yelling something back.

It's at that point Allen stopped the car, with both he and a passenger getting out, with Allen holding a handgun.

Allen and Herrera Garcia started fighting, with Allen at one point pistol whipping him.

The Hennepin County Attorney's Office says the sound of the gun hitting Garcia's skull was "audible" on one of two videos taken of the altercation.

Allen dropped the gun during the assault, before picking it up and firing one shot, which hit Herrera Garcia in the chest.

Allen and the passenger then drove off, with a witness noting the license plate number.

Police eventually caught up with Allen in the 4500 block of Aldrich Avenue South, following a few miles before stopping and arresting him.

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Herrera Garcia was out with his longtime girlfriend, Vianca Gonzalez, at the time, with his family telling KARE 11 that he did nothing to deserve what happened to him, claiming Allen had been looking for a fight.

They also told the TV station the family had moved to Minnesota from Mexico when he was just 2 years old to escape violence, and that the 21-year-old was a graduated of Eastview High and worked at Napa Auto Parts in Apple Valley.

Correction: An earlier version of this story stated that Garcia was from Golden Valley. He is actually from Apple Valley. We apologize for the error.

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