Suspects sought after 2 Minneapolis slayings

  • Article by: JENNA ROSS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 19, 2012 - 9:39 PM

The men were slain on opposite sides of Minneapolis.

Investigations continued Sunday into Saturday's shooting deaths of two men on opposite sides of Minneapolis in what police believe were unrelated crimes.

As of Sunday night, no one had been arrested in either killing, the city's 19th and 20th of the year. Neither was thought to have been random, however.

In the first, Minneapolis police were called to a residence in the 2100 block of Penn Avenue N. just before 3 a.m. Saturday. They found one man fatally shot in the chest and another with noncritical wounds.

On Sunday, the Hennepin County medical examiner identified the dead man as Lavalle Ja'ron Priest, 21, of Minneapolis.

Police believe a group of people who had been out together earlier in the evening congregated at the house on Penn, said Sgt. Stephen McCarty. It's unclear whether the person or people who shot Priest and the other man came with that group or arrived later. It's possible that there was more than one shooter, McCarty said.

About 8:45 p.m. Saturday, officers responding to a 911 call about shots being fired found a man lying wounded at the intersection of Portland Avenue and 22nd Street E. But the crime scene was down the block, in the hallway of an apartment building in the 2200 block of 5th Avenue S., police said.

The victim, a 30-year-old man from north Minneapolis whose name has not been released, later died at Hennepin County Medical Center.

Inspector Lucy Gerold, Third Precinct commander, said Sunday at a news conference that it appears the victim was not related to anybody in the apartment building. "We do not know why he was there," she said, adding that the building "is not a problem address for us."

"We have no leads in this case at all," Gerold said. She asked that anyone with information call police at 612-692-8477.

Police do not believe the shooting was random. They did not find a murder weapon.

Anytime two homicides happen within a short time, police explore possible connections, Gerold said. But it does not appear these two are related, she said.

Jenna Ross • 612-673-7168

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