A man found shot to death in Shoreview in late August had been attacked and robbed of thousands of dollars in cash earlier that month in St. Paul.

According to search warrant documents filed Wednesday in Ramsey County District Court, Hagos Tsegay Melake, 26, of South St. Paul, was the victim of a robbery on Aug. 15 in which $3,800 was stolen from him.

Melake ended up with one of the robbers’ cellphones, which he used to try to contact his assailants to get his money back. But when he was unsuccessful, Melake made an appointment to see a St. Paul police officer. He was found dead with a gunshot wound to the back of his head the next day.

Randy Gustafson, spokesman for the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office, said as of now authorities couldn’t say if the robbery, in which two men have been charged in, was connected to Melake’s slaying. “They’re looking at all leads,” he said.

No suspects have been arrested yet in Melake’s death, Gustafson said. There is no known connection to any other recent homicide.

On Aug. 29, a deputy responded to a call reporting someone was slumped against a building in the 5700 block of Hamline Avenue N. Melake, who didn’t have identifying documents on him, was found lying in the parking lot.

Melake was last seen leaving the Hunan Garden Restaurant on Cedar Street in downtown St Paul about 1:30 a.m. that day. His card was used at an ATM by an unidentified woman at a U.S. Bank office on W. Broadway in Minneapolis about 4:30 a.m. The woman, who was photographed, is being sought as a person of interest.

Before his death, Melake told police he had been drinking on Aug. 15 and was walking on Central Avenue near Lexington Parkway in St. Paul when two men attacked him, according to charges. One held up a closed folding knife while the other punched Melake. He eventually fell to the ground, and one of the men took his money clip.

The men fled, but one dropped his phone. The next day, Melake called some of the contacts on the phone to try to recover his money, including a contact labeled “Mom.”

Melake ended up calling police. Melake’s credit card was used to buy prepaid phone cards from Target, which also provided surveillance photos of a suspect. Joseph L. Graves, 22, and Wayne R. Brown, 23, both of St. Paul, were arrested and charged in the attack.

According to search warrant documents, Melake’s father told police that Melake’s old girlfriend had informed him of the robbery and knew one of the suspects. Phone records show that the woman called Melake’s cellphone the day after his death after she was interviewed by authorities. Investigators have requested her phone records, according to the search warrant.


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