A north Minneapolis vigil for slain teen Nehemiah Steverson briefly turned into a melee Wednesday night, quelled by police spraying a chemical irritant.
Officers said no one was arrested or injured.
Hundreds attended the event, where friends, family members and representatives of the group MAD DADS called for an end to gun violence before a dispute erupted between two young women.
Others in the crowd, including MAD DADS leaders, rushed in to break it up.
Police officers quickly converged. One officer sprayed the chemical irritant above the fighters, leaving some people, including MAD DADS, with watering and irritated throats. Police Inspector Mike Kjos said officers acted quickly to prevent more serious violence.
“You want to give them a safe environment to grieve,” he said. “That’s the whole point of us being here.”
Steverson, a popular 17-year-old at Edison High, died early Sunday of a gunshot wound to the abdomen. Nobody has been arrested.
Steverson was in youth programs and a good student at Edison High School who liked to cook and tell jokes, said his mother, Angie Steverson. He was raised in the church and loved playing gospel music at home, she and others said.
He was not in a gang, though many other young people with whom he associated were in gangs, his brother and stepbrother said at the vigil at North Commons Park. They had been encouraging “Bubba,” as Steverson was known, to get involved in their clothing line.
And as soon as school was out, Steverson was to go to Forest City, Ark., for the summer.
“He was going to be with his grandpa to get away from the gun violence,” said an older brother, Quincy Steverson.
“He was a charismatic young man that you never see without a smile on his face that could light up a room, and he could make you happy in the worst of times.”
Nehemiah Steverson was shot about 2 a.m. Sunday in the 1600 block of Newton Avenue N. He died about nine hours later.
Those who know what happened need to step forward so the slaying can be solved, Steverson’s stepbrother, Suliaman Harbin, told the crowd.