Man fatally shot in Minneapolis had lost son to homicide 13 months earlier

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 28, 2014 - 4:15 PM

Darnell C. Harris Sr. was Minneapolis’ first homicide victim of 2014. In late 2012, his son was shot to death in the city.

A Richfield man was charged Tuesday in the death of Minneapolis’ first homicide victim of 2014, a St. Louis Park man who had lost his son to a Minneapolis homicide 13 months ago.

Darnell C. Harris Sr. was shot Thursday night — less than three hours shy of his 61st birthday — and died early Sunday at Hennepin County Medical Center, according to the medical examiner’s office.

Harris died of “complications of [a] gunshot wound of the right leg,” according to the medical examiner’s office.

He was shot about 9:15 p.m. Thursday in the 4400 block of 1st Avenue S., police said. State Patrol troopers found him gravely wounded shortly after 9:30 p.m. in a vehicle on the entrance ramp from 35th Street to northbound Interstate 35W.

Charged in Hennepin County District Court was Brandon D. Bell, 24. Bell, accused of second-degree murder, remains jailed in lieu of $1 million bail ahead of a court appearance Wednesday.

According to the criminal complaint, police arrived at the scene shortly after shots were fired and two vehicles fled. A neighbor showed police his surveillance video of two vehicles arriving and parking. A man got out of one vehicle and fired several times into the other as it left.

The State Patrol found Harris’ vehicle stopped at the interstate ramp. They saw Harris inside and a large pool of blood below him on the driver’s side floor.

As he slipped in and out of consciousness, Harris said someone named Brandon had shot him.

A niece of Harris’ who came to HCMC later told officers that he called her about 9:15 p.m. saying he had been shot. Harris told her to remember the name Brian and that the shooting involved the “same people who ran up in my house.”

Police checked Harris’ cellphone and saw several incoming calls from Bell that evening.

When Bell was questioned Sunday, he said someone else did the shooting. Once confronted with the video evidence, he said Harris had stolen $10,000 to $12,000 from him, money he said Harris was supposed to use to buy marijuana in Colorado.

Harris said the money “got took,” according to Bell. That’s when Bell met up with Harris and decided to rob him of money and whatever marijuana he might have.

Bell said Harris pulled out a “little derringer,” the complaint said. Bell said he grabbed for it, causing Harris to be shot in the leg.

However, when confronted with video evidence showing Bell shooting at Harris’ car, the defendant said that he had “slipped on some ice, which probably caused his gun to go off.”

Harris’ son, Darnell C. Harris Jr., was fatally shot in the head on Dec. 20, 2012, outside Champions Bar on Lake Street in Minneapolis.

A witness told police that Harris Jr. had walked from a parked car toward Champions when three men got into an SUV nearby. Harris approached the SUV and then ran back to his car. The three then allegedly began shooting at the car Harris Jr. was in.

There is currently no one charged in that killing.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

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