Two charged in robbery-inspired shooting death outside victim's Minneapolis home

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 12, 2013 - 7:02 AM

Two men were charged Thursday in the robbery-inspired shooting death of a 38-year-old man outside his home in south Minneapolis.

Francisco Benitez Hernandez, who also went by Joseph Bernardo Lopez, died at the scene Monday night from multiple gunshot wounds, according to the Hennepin County medical examiner’s office.

Two Minneapolis men were arrested Tuesday night in connection with the shooting, which also left Hernandez’s brother wounded in the arm, outside the home in the 3600 block of Columbus Avenue S.

Charged with intentional second-degree murder and second-degree assault were Ryan Grant, 22, and Diamond L.J. Griffin, 24.

Upon his arrest, Grant immediately pinned Griffin as the shooter and even contended that Griffin almost shot him, according to the charges. Grant added that Griffin laughed after the shooting but also acknowledged doing nothing to stop the violence or offer aid to the wounded, according to the charging document.

Also among the victims was a brother-in-law, who was allegedly physically assaulted in the incident.

According to the criminal complaint:

Shortly after 11 p.m., Griffin and Grant entered the back yard and demanded money and cellphones from their three victims.

The wounded brother told police that one of the robbers started shooting after the three said they had no money. Hernandez was shot first, then a shot narrowly missed the brother-in-law. The surviving brother was then shot in the left arm.

As officers searched the area for clues, they found a woman’s identification card in a parking lot. She was located and said that she was in her car nearby while Griffin and Grant were at the home. Also in the car was her young child.

After shots were fired, the woman said, Griffin and Grant ran back to her car and excitedly ordered her to start driving.

Police later located the two in the woman’s car and arrested them.

While Grant pointed to Griffin as the shooter and added that his cohort also struck one of the victims in the head with the gun, Griffin declined to speak with police.

Griffin’s criminal history in Minnesota includes convictions for theft, aggravated robbery and fleeing police. Grant has been convicted of domestic abuse and loitering.

Both remain held in the Hennepin County jail in lieu of $2 million bail.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

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