Murder charges filed against a 17-year-old are revealing more details about the SWAT team raid that resulted in the death of Amir Locke.
The teen, who is from Minneapolis, was charged in Ramsey County District Court Tuesday with two counts of second-degree murder. Prosecutors allege in a juvenile petition filed Tuesday that he fatally shot Otis Elder during a drug transaction the evening of Jan. 10.
St. Paul police officers had arrived to the scene on Prior Avenue to find the 38-year-old with a gunshot wound. He was taken to Regions Hospital and pronounced dead about 30 minutes later.
This teen suspect, according to the petition, is the cousin of Amir Locke, the 22-year-old shot and killed by a Minneapolis Police Department SWAT team in a Bolero Flats apartment on Feb. 2. Locke had been sleeping on the couch in the living room of one of the three apartment units targeted by search warrants early that morning.
Authorities had closed in on the downtown Minneapolis apartment building in the weeks following Elder's death.
Investigators used CCTV MnDOT camera footage to track a suspect vehicle, seen speeding away from the Jan. 10 crime scene, to the Bolero Flats apartment building, according to the juvenile petition filed against the teen. Witnesses, video footage and criminal history tied the suspected gunman to three units:
- 7th floor apartment— Where the suspect's brother lived with his girlfriend (and the unit in which Locke was later killed)
- 14th floor apartment — Where the suspect lived with his mother.
- Another 14th floor apartment — "Associated with" one of the people that returned to Bolero Flats with the suspect following Elder's fatal shooting.
This led the St. Paul Police Department to request search warrants for those three units. The Minneapolis Police Department oversaw the raids, with MPD reportedly insisting no-knock warrants be an option despite SPPD not requesting them.
The petition states the officers had ''probable cause pick up and holds'' to arrest the suspected gunman on suspicion of murder, and two of his associates on suspicion of aiding and abetting an offender after the fact.
At 6:48 a.m., a SWAT team quietly unlocked the door to the 7th-floor unit and entered, with armed officers then beginning to announce they were conducting a search warrant. Just 9 seconds later, Officer Mark Hanneman shoots Locke, who was wrapped in a blanket having spent the night on the couch, and who was holding a gun that his family says was legally owned. Bodycam video shows he was not pointing the gun in the direction of any officers.
The Bolero Flats search warrants have not yet been made public, but reports have said Locke was not listed on the documents.
The juvenile petition filed against the 17-year-old Tuesday say the suspect's brother and his girlfriend were also in the apartment that morning as MPD executed the search warrant. Investigators found a jacket the teen suspect may have been wearing when he drove the suspect vehicle to a parking ramp the day after Elder's death.
In the first 14th-floor unit, neither the suspect nor his mother were home at the time of the raid. Investigators found clothing and items possibly connected to Elder's killing. And in the second 14th-floor apartment, officers did not locate the suspect acquaintance they were looking for, but did find another male, according to the petition.
The 17-year-old charged Tuesday was arrested earlier this week in Winona, police have said. The Ramsey County Attorney's Office said it will move to have the teen tried as an adult.