Minneapolis police detectives on Friday continued their investigations into several recent shootings, including one Thursday afternoon that wounded five people and raised fears of possible gang retaliation.
The five victims — all male, ages 27, 30, 33, 36, 37 — were shot near Girard and 34th avenues N., in the Folwell neighborhood, when a fight broke out that ended in gunplay, police say. Four of the men were taken by ambulance to North Memorial Health Hospital in Robbinsdale, while the fifth was dropped off there later. Their conditions were not immediately known on Friday.
Neighborhood sources say that the fight stemmed from a dispute involving members of the 1-9 Block Dipset and Young N Thuggin’ crews, from the opposing High End and Low End gang alliances, commonly referred to as the “Highs” and the “Lows.” It wasn’t immediately clear what the dispute was over, but theories on the street ranged from the presence of a Low End gang member in rival territory to payback for a previous robbery attempt.
In the hours after the shooting, police patrol cars flooded the blocks south of West Broadway — considered the dividing line between territories claimed by the “Highs” and “Lows” — to try to ward off retaliatory shootings.
While none was reported, police remained on high alert Friday.
Investigators are also looking into the possibility that the assault is connected to a Halloween night shooting in the 3700 block of Queen Avenue N.
In that shooting, a man was shot with a .22-caliber handgun by an unidentified assailant in a black sedan who fled the scene before police could arrive, according to a search warrant affidavit in the case. The victim was taken to an area hospital, but is expected to survive, the affidavit said.
No arrests had been announced in either shooting as of Friday evening.
Police, concerned about compromising the investigation, have been tight-lipped about a possible motive or any other details about the recent shootings, with detectives requesting that names and locations be struck from public reports.
In a Facebook post posted shortly after the shooting, Minneapolis Council Member Phillipe Cunningham said he had been in contact with Police Chief Medaria Arradondo and Fourth Precinct Inspector Aaron Biard about the shootings.
“I take gun violence very seriously and am activating every resource I can access to address this incident to prevent further violence. Our community deserves better than what we saw today!” wrote Cunningham, in whose ward the shooting occurred.
In an apparently unrelated incident, police are investigating whether a suspect vehicle captured on surveillance camera speeding away from a homicide scene may have been connected to an earlier shooting on West Broadway.
Police said in court filings that a black mid-2000s model Volkswagen Passat was seen driving away from an alley in the 5200 block of James Avenue N. where Darren Watkins, 54, was found shot to death on Sunday.
Police believe the car was the same one stopped three days later in north Minneapolis, when one of its occupants was identified as a suspect in an Oct. 27 shooting in the 900 block of West Broadway. The 37-year-old man was arrested and later charged with felony assault. He remains jailed on $100,000 bond.