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Police release suspect in Maplewood shooting, ask for public's help

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Police in Maplewood have released a 19-year old man they had arrested in connection with a fatal shooting outside a liquor store Saturday night, according to a news release.

Police said they no longer suspect the man was involved, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. Now they're asking for the public's help in identifying the white car the shooters were using, as well as any other information that could help identify the suspects.

The shooting occurred outside a Maplewood strip mall in the 1700 block of Rice Street Saturday night. Terrence Woods, 25, and Jamil Ellis, 24, were entering Merwin's Liquors when three young men asked them to buy alcohol for them. The victims refused and exchanged words with the young men before going inside the store.

When they came out of the liquor store, several people inside a white car started shooting at them, according to police. Ellis and Woods were hit by gunfire – Woods in the back and Ellis in the leg.

They were taken to Regions Hospital where Woods died a short time later. Ellis is expected to recover. A third man who was with them ran away as the shooting started. He was not hurt, and his name is being withheld by police.

Maplewood Police Chief Paul Schnell said the suspect was arrested because he was seen driving in the area in a white sedan similar to the one involved in the incident, according to the Pioneer Press. The young man also told police he'd been in the vicinity at the time of the shooting.

"We don't believe he had any involvement," Schnell said, according to the Pioneer Press. "He was in the area, but really not at the scene."

Schnell released a still image from a surveillance video (shown at top) which shows the white car in the parking lot, in hopes of getting some more leads. Witnesses said they thought the car was a Honda Accord or a Chevrolet Impala.

Schnell said all the shots were fired from that car, which pulled into the parking lot at 8 p.m. and fled after the shooting at about 8:35 p.m.

Maplewood police are asking witnesses to come forward if they:

-- Saw the white car with three or more people in it parked outside Merwin's liquor store at 1600 Rice St.

-- Witnessed the argument outside the liquor store just before the shooting around 8:30 p.m. Saturday.

-- Saw the actual shooting incident.

-- Were approached with a request to purchase alcohol at the liquor store.

-- Saw a white car speed onto northbound Rice Street Saturday about 8:35 p.m.

-- Know the identity and/or whereabouts of the suspects involved in the shooting.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Maplewood Police Department at 651-767-0640. An anonymous tip can be sent via text message by texting the word “Maplewood” and the tip information to TIP411.

Friends of Terrence Woods were shocked and upset at his sudden death, according to the Pioneer Press.

The general manager of the Wingstop restaurant, Diana Cox, described Woods as an "incredible guy," the Pioneer Press notes.

"This has really hit us hard," she said. "He was one of the most devoted and dedicated people we had here."

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