A 28-year-old house painter was shot and killed in his own home on Minneapolis’ North Side late Sunday, capping a violent weekend that saw eight others in the city injured by gunfire.
The man, identified by relatives as Anthony Prowell, was shot during a disturbance that prompted a neighbor to call 911 after hearing four shots then someone screaming, according to scanner audio posted online. Police said no one had been arrested as of Monday night.
Police spokeswoman Sgt. Catherine Michal said Prowell appeared to have been targeted. She declined to say whether he was killed during a home invasion, as some alarmed neighbors have speculated.
Prowell was taken to North Memorial Medical Center, where he later died, police said.
Homicide detectives were still sorting out the circumstances of his death and asked anyone with information to speak up.
The shooting occurred in a house in the 3500 block of Emerson Avenue N., in a neighborhood that has seen more and more violent assaults in recent years.
By Monday morning, an impromptu memorial of candles and star-shaped balloons grew outside the boarded-up home, as several of Prowell’s relatives gathered to remember him.
“This was never supposed to be him,” said a man who identified himself as Prowell’s cousin, but declined to use his name. “He never lived life like that.”
As relatives gathered, rap and gospel music thumped loudly from a nearby parked car.
Prowell’s relatives said Prowell, a Kankakee, Ill. native who was known by the childhood nickname “Earz,” spent his formative years on the North Side. He had always given trouble a wide berth, they said. His focus, they insist, was more on working and making money, while avoiding the traps that dragged down some of his peers.
For as long as they could remember, Prowell had worked painting houses for Anderson Painting & Construction in Crystal, a job that he loved. He can be seen smiling in a photo on his Facebook page, above a caption that reads, “Another day at work,” followed by the emoticons for money and “100,” or keeping it real.
The Folwell neighborhood, where Prowell was killed, has seen serious assaults rise in recent years. Assaults that resulted in significant injuries or in which someone was threatened with a gun or knife nearly doubled between 2010 and 2016, from 25 to 45. Folwell has recorded 25 such assaults through the first seven months of this year.
Over the weekend, at least eight other people were wounded in shootings, including one person who was grazed by a ricocheting bullet.
In another attack, early Sunday, a 27-year-old man was struck and seriously injured after a street fight escalated into gunfire across the street from Restaurant Alma, a popular eatery in southeast Minneapolis. Police said the suspected gunman fled the scene.
Michal, the police spokeswoman, said the violence was too spread out to be connected.
“The shootings over the weekend occurred in three different precincts and none of them are related, Michal said in an e-mail. “MPD investigators are actively working the shootings and could use some help from the victims by being truthful and cooperating.”
That was of little comfort to some residents who insist that gun violence has gotten out of hand in recent months.
While the number of people wounded by gunfire has declined 21 percent citywide compared to this time last year, a recent string of violence has put some residents on edge.
In addition to the shooting that killed Prowell and the one in southeast Sunday, four other gun-related assaults totaling seven victims took place over the weekend, police said. Scanner traffic suggested many more instances involved someone opening fire, but no one was hit. Last weekend saw a similar amount of bloodshed.
City Councilman Blong Yang last week had his own brush with the violence when gunfire erupted outside his North Side home, forcing him and his wife to dive to the floor.
Yang says that north Minneapolis has a greater share of officers — compared to the other four police precincts — than in years past, but added that sheer numbers alone won’t solve the problem. He said that too often violence in the North Side, which has traditionally been home to the city’s poorest residents, is not prioritized.
“There’s, like, hundreds and hundreds of shootings and nobody says a thing,” said Yang, head of the Public Safety committee. “It’s like we just have to sit here and take it — and I’m not OK with that.”