As Hispanic leaders called for calm, police looked for a link between two drive-by deaths. A suspect was in custody in the third death.
A violent weekend in the Twin Cities saw two teenagers gunned down in drive-by shootings and a woman shot to death through the door and window of her home in the presence of children.
On Sunday afternoon, community leaders and police asked for the public's help in solving Saturday's shooting death of a 14-year-old boy in Minneapolis, which police said could be linked to the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Gustavo Ortega in Richfield later the same day.
"To allow those responsible for this child's death to continue walking the streets is unthinkable," said Lt. Amelia Huffman, the head of the Minneapolis Police Department's homicide unit.
The drive-by shootings, both of which killed Hispanic teenagers, occurred within four hours and 4 miles of each other. Authorities are investigating a possible connection between the cases, but offered no more details. No one has been arrested.
At about 1 a.m. Sunday, about 11 hours after Saturday's first shooting, a woman was fatally shot in Minneapolis' Phillips neighborhood. Another woman in the house was grazed in the cheek by a bullet. That case, the city's fifth homicide of the year compared to nine this time last year, does not appear to be related to Saturday's shootings, police said. A 28-year-old man was arrested in the woman's death.
At the Sunday news conference in south Minneapolis, Hispanic community leaders called on their own to put aside fears regarding immigration scrutiny and come forward with information that could solve the 14-year-old boy's death. His identity has not been released.
The motives in the drive-by cases are uncertain, but authorities in Richfield and Minneapolis said they are looking into possible gang ties, including to the Vatos Locos gang.
Alberto Monserrate, president and CEO of Latino Communications Network LLC, said he knows that people with gang and criminal ties are listening to his company's radio station and that they should "calm that anger."
Rumors that the shootings are products of Hispanic gang turf wars have been bandied about, said deacon Carl Valdez of Incarnation/Sagrado Corazon de Jesús church.
"There is a killer on the run, and one of our families could be the next one," community activist Antonia Alvarez said. "We all have to work together to solve this."
Huffman said the 14-year-old was walking with friends near the Midas Auto Service Shop at Lake Street and Portland Avenue S. in Minneapolis when a car pulled up at about 2 p.m. There was a verbal exchange and shots were fired out of the car, killing the boy. No one else was injured, although a bullet pierced the glass of the Midas shop and narrowly missed a customer waiting to have her car repaired.
"It's evidence of a particularly callous disregard for human life," Huffman said.
'He never came back'
In the Richfield case, Ortega was walking westbound with friends on the north frontage road near the Arby's restaurant on 77th Street at 6 p.m. Saturday when shots were fired out of an eastbound car, police said. Ortega was killed.
Richfield police Lt. Jay Henthorne said the car was described as a red two-door.
Ortega's father, Sebastien, said his son has been with him in Minnesota for two years working as a roofer. Gustavo was often at the public library using the computers when he wasn't at work, his father said.
"The last time I saw him, I took him to the library at 3 o'clock. He never came back," said Sebastien Ortega, who moved with his son to a house in Richfield last week, where they rented a basement room.
The family comes from Guanajuato, a city in the central highlands of Mexico, where another son, two daughters and Gustavo's mother live, he said. Two other daughters live in Denver and Texas.
His son was never in trouble before and didn't belong to a gang, said Ortega. But police "think it was some gangster guys," he said.
10 investigators on the job
Then, about 1 a.m. Sunday, a woman was shot to death in the 2800 block of 17th Avenue S. Her identity was not released.
Ten investigators were called in to investigate the shootings, Huffman said. "It certainly puts stress on the investigators ... a number of incidents happening in a short period of time," she said.
Authorities wouldn't discuss a motive in the third shooting, although a 28-year-old man was arrested and jailed on probable-cause murder in the case.
Huffman said a gunman on foot shot into the residence while adults and children were home. "The house I don't think was randomly selected," she said, declining to say more.
Neighbors said the house, now boarded shut, has been a problem property with a constant stream of people. City officials are aware of its problems, said neighbor Juliet Thompson.
Anyone with information about the shootings can call Minneapolis police at 612-692-TIPS and Richfield police at 612-861-9800.
Staff writer Matt McKinney contributed to this report. Chao Xiong • 612-673-4391