Police: Stepfather involved in shootout that killed 14-year-old boy in Woodbury

Police provided an extensive update to the investigation.
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Demaris Hobbs-Ekdahl

Demaris Hobbs-Ekdahl

Police have made progress in the investigation of a shooting near a graduation party Saturday night that killed a 14-year-old boy in Woodbury. 

Woodbury Police Commander John Altman provided an update Monday evening, saying a man who identified himself as the stepfather of of the victim, 14-year-old Demaris Hobbs-Ekdahl, of St. Paul, admitted to being involved in the shootout that led to the boy's death. 

Keith Dawson, who will be formally charged in Washington County District Court on Tuesday, admitted that he was the driver of a white Chevrolet Tahoe from which gunshots rang out in the direction of a black SUV, with people inside the black SUV returning fire around 10:43 p.m. on the 6100 block of Edgewood Avenue. 

While Dawson initially told investigators that he was rushing to the scene after learning that his stepson had been injured, he later admitted that he fired shots at the black SUV in an effort to scare the other group because they were "messing with his kids," the release said. 

Prior to the shootout taking place, Dawson said he was informed that Hobbs-Ekdahl was among a group that got into an altercation with a "rival group of people." Dawson met up with his stepson's group, then drove to the area of the incident and fired shots at the black SUV. 

When shots were returned from the black SUV, Hobbs-Ekdahl was in a Kia Forte sedan that was following behind Dawson's Tahoe. Dawson said he wasn't aware the group had followed him to Edgewood Avenue. 

The 14-year-old boy was then rushed to Regions Hospital in the Chevy Tahoe by his stepfather, who at one point admitted to tossing his gun out the window. The gun was later recovered by Woodbury police. 

The black SUV and Kia Forte have all been confiscated by authorities. It remains unclear who fired the fatal shot that struck Hobbs-Ekdahl, but Commander Altman noted that there are "details of this incident that cannot be released yet since it is an active investigation."

Altman added that "there are juveniles involved" and police "do not want to compromise the integrity off the investigation."

Dawson is expected to be formally charged with several felony counts, including drive-by shooting, illegal possession of a firearm and second-degree assault. 

"A chance encounter resulting in a dispute leading to tragedy is no way to celebrate a graduation," said Altman. "This incident does not define a neighborhood or its residents, or our community at large. Detectives will continue to work hard to bring closure to this case, and we will provide updates as information becomes available and it is prudent to do so."

A GoFundMe for Hobbs-Ekdahl's family has so far raised over $13,000. To donate, click here

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