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SWAT team arrests suspect in connection with fatal shooting of 18-year-old in St. Paul

The victim had been driving an SUV when gunshots were fired from another vehicle.
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Police now have a suspect in custody in connection with the Sunday night shooting that killed an 18-year-old who had been driving his car.

The St. Paul Police Department said Tuesday morning that a SWAT team arrested the suspect, a 37-year-old St. Paul man,  on the 600 block of Cook Avenue just before 2:15 p.m. Monday. He was booked on suspicion of second-degree murder in connection with the shooting death of  Lavonte Baymond Love.

Love was behind the wheel of an SUV around 8:45 p.m. near Payne Avenue and East 7th Street Sunday when he was struck by gunfire that came from another vehicle, according to St. Paul police. Officers arrived on the scene and found Love unconscious, suffering from gunshot wounds.

He was taken to Regions Hospital where he later died.

There was at least one other occupant in the SUV at the time, though Love was the only one hit.

Police had initially described the shooting as a possible road rage incident, but no longer believe that to be the case.

"It appears the shooting stemmed from a dispute that occurred earlier in the evening at another location," St. Paul police said, adding road rage had been ruled out.

The suspect arrested Monday is also being held in connection with a third-degree criminal sexual conduct warrant.

Love's killing was one of four suspected homicides in the city over the course of fewer than 48 hours.

  • A man in his 30s, who has not been identified, was fatally shot in a parking ramp on the 400 block of Jackson Street in downtown St. Paul around 12:30 a.m. Police do not believe it was a random incident. No arrests have been made.
  • Blake Swenson, a 20-year-old from Bethel, was shot and killed while sitting in a car on Raspberry Island. The suspect got into the car, pulled out a gun, robbed a woman in the vehicle and then shot Swenson. No arrests have been made.
  • A woman in her 50s, who has not been publicly identified, was found dead in a condo on the 300 block of Ramsey Street just before 11 a.m. Monday. Police described the circumstances as "suspicious" and are treating her death as a homicide, though have not released details about a possible cause.

With these four killings, there have been 22 homicides in St. Paul this year. There were 34 in all of 2020, and 30 in 2019, according to the city.

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