Minneapolis police investigating city's first homicide of 2016

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The first homicide in Minneapolis in 2016 happened minutes into the new year, and police are looking to the public for help to find the person responsible.

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A man was shot around 12:37 a.m. Friday on the 500 block of 8th Avenue Southeast, police said in a news release Monday night.

The man, identified as 20-year-old James Bills, of West St. Paul, died from his injuries a few hours later at the hospital, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner says. He was shot in the head.

The Star Tribune says he was at a New Year's Eve party in Dinkytown when he was shot after defending a woman who had gotten in an argument with the shooter.

The paper confirmed with Minneapolis Police spokesperson John Elder that this was the city's first homicide of the year.

Officers are now looking for the person responsible in the shooting. They have canvassed the area to speak with witnesses, and homicide investigators continue to work the case.

Investigators are calling a community meeting to include the Marcy Holmes Neighborhood Association to discuss the incident and any concerns the community may have. Officers will also be going door-to-door seeking information and to offer support and safety tips following the shooting.

Anyone with information is asked to contact CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or send an anonymous tip to CRIMES (274637) and begin message with: TIP674. A person who provides information that leads to an arrest and conviction to a suspect in the case could be eligible for a cash reward, the release notes.

As of Dec. 28, there were 49 homicides in Minneapolis in 2015, according to the department's website, including a homicide that happened within the first week of the new year. There were 32 reported homicides in the city in 2014.

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