June 10, 2007: Violence on North Side claims another innocent

  • Article by: TERRY COLLINS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 16, 2008 - 3:40 PM

Charez Jones, 14, was shot as she and her boyfriend strolled home from a party. Police say it does not appear she was the bullet's intended target.

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Charez Jones' cousin Kim Reeves gives a comforting hug to Guy Jones, the father of 14-year old Charez Jones who was killed on Saturday evening. This was the city's 25th homicide of the year.

Photo: Richard Tsong-Taatarii, Star Tribune

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When 14-year-old Charez Jones and her boyfriend left the safety of a birthday party in north Minneapolis late Saturday, they unintentionally headed toward trouble.

As they walked down the block, three young men -- one of whom apparently had a gun -- argued on the corner of 33rd and Humboldt Avenues N.

The couple and Charez's younger stepbrother turned back and, after hearing gunshots, ran.

"I had her hand and she let me go," said Charez's boyfriend, Gerald Cepeda, 15. "I thought she was behind me."

The next time he saw Charez, she lay dead near the steps leading to the party.

Police believe Charez wasn't the intended target. As of Sunday night, no one had been arrested.

"This is where my baby was laying on the street like a dog with a bullet in the head," Charez's father, Guy Jones, said Sunday. "The only thing she did wrong was that she was at the wrong place at the wrong time."

Charez would have completed her freshman year at Edison High School on Tuesday.

Now family members are preparing for her funeral. Her father said he got a phone call about 4:30 a.m. Sunday about his youngest daughter's death.

Jones said Charez got permission from her mother to go the birthday party for a 17-year-old girl.

The party in the 3300 block of Humboldt in the Folwell neighborhood started about 8 p.m., but like most partygoers, Charez, Gerald and her younger stepbrother didn't get there until after 10 p.m.

Attendees were charged at least $2 to get in and were searched for weapons by family members standing outside.

The birthday girl's sister, Charmaine Clark, said Sunday that four young men tried to get in to the party, but three refused to be searched. The fourth went in, came out and they all left, she said.

"They acted like they were trying to hide something," said Laquanda Hamilton, Clark's cousin. "They got mad because we wouldn't let them in.

"They told my auntie, '[Expletive], we'll be back.' "

Shortly afterward, Charez and Gerald left the party to walk home. When they saw the group arguing at the corner they turned back, and Charez took out her cell phone and called a cousin for a ride home. They began to run when they heard gunshots.

Back at the party, the girls, Clark and Hamilton, said they heard at least a dozen gunshots. They said they didn't know Charez.

Police said the family that threw the party is cooperating with the investigation.

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