Sister: Police questioned the victim's boyfriend for hours.
As a thunderstorm bore down Wednesday night, neighbors along a stretch of Stinson Boulevard NE. in Minneapolis suddenly heard a woman's scream, then a bang.
At first, no one realized that they had just heard a homicide, but police sirens soon blared through the neighborhood.
A woman was shot to death about 9 p.m. inside a house in the 2500 block of Stinson Boulevard NE., police said
The victim's father, Billy Hawkins of Minneapolis, identified her as Antoinette Hawkins, 25, and said she had been staying at the house temporarily.
"She was going to have her own apartment on the 15th," of June said Hawkins. "She was a sweet, loving young lady."
No one has been arrested in Hawkins' death, according to police.
The house where she died belongs to her boyfriend, according to her younger sister, Charlette Hawkins. She said the boyfriend told her that someone broke into the house and that he was there during the shooting. Police questioned him for several hours, then let him go, according to Charlette Hawkins.
She said she doesn't know what to believe. "I really don't know the whole story of what happened," she said.
She said her sister was a "pretty, happy, fun person to be around."
The shooting took place during a storm, and more than one neighbor who heard the gunshot thought the noise had been caused by lightning or something toppling over in the wind.
"We thought it was a piece of lawn furniture banging up against the back there," said Rick Brown, who lives next door to the crime scene. A few minutes later, police arrived, he said.
Officers used dogs to search the alley behind the house, telling one neighbor that they were searching for someone who had fled on foot.
Brown said emergency medical personnel worked on the shooting victim for about an hour before carrying her out of the house into an ambulance. She was pronounced dead at Hennepin County Medical Center.
A neighbor said people often came and went from the house, which is set at the back of a grass-filled lot. A sign in the front window reads: "No trespassing. Violators will be shot. Survivors will be shot again."
Minneapolis police ask that anyone with information call 612-692-8477.
Mad DADS of Minneapolis will hold a vigil next week for Hawkins, in part because her father is a member of the group, which advocates for an end to drug dealing and homicide.
"This one struck close to home," said V.J. Smith, president of Mad DADs. "It's like one of our daughters."
Billy Hawkins said his daughter grew up in Minneapolis and had hoped to become a beautician. She is survived by a 12-year-old daughter, three siblings and six step-siblings.
"She loved me with all her heart," Billy Hawkins said of his daughter. "Even when things weren't right, she was cheerful and just an upright spirit. Always laughing. Always happy. Always looking out for her other sisters. She just tried to do what she can for other people.
"It's just a tragedy," he said.
Matt McKinney • 612-217-1747