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Diaz’s neighbor Don Vanderberg, a retired police officer, said she was quiet and kept to herself. “I think she’s an upstanding officer,” he said. “I have nothing but good vibes about her; positive feelings and positive impressions.”
Diaz’s record was clean
Diaz started with the department in 1999 as an intern and became a certified police officer in 2000. Her personnel file shows no disciplinary action against her.
Smaller’s family declined to address the new charges against him or the allegations against Diaz. His aunt, Rondria Smaller, said, “We’re just saying we love our nephew, our grandson and our cousin.”
Smaller is charged with firing into a house in October inhabited by two sisters, ages 72 and 69. Community leaders said that case was especially egregious among the three drive-by shootings because the women, longtime residents, were targeted to get back at one of their grandsons.
“It looked like a firing squad lined up and fired,” community activist and retired St. Paul police officer Melvin Carter Jr. said. “It was a level of devastation that was unspeakable.”
Authorities believe Smaller is affiliated with the Gotta Havit gang, which is a clique of the Selby Sider gang in St. Paul.
Staff writers Nicole Norfleet and Libor Jany contributed to this report. Chao Xiong • 612-270-4708 Twitter: @ChaoStrib