A St. Paul man was charged Monday with shooting and killing his girlfriend Easter morning after the two argued in the bedroom where their infant daughter had been sleeping.
Dimitri D. Harrell, 21, was charged in Ramsey County District Court with second-degree murder in the death of Samirria White, 19, whose body was found on the bedroom floor of their St. Paul apartment.
Harrell allegedly told police that he was holding the couple’s 3-month-old daughter when the gun discharged, a criminal complaint said.
White was shot once in the head at close range, according to details of the criminal complaint and a preliminary autopsy report.
According to the complaint:
Six or seven people, including several of White’s siblings, were at the apartment in the 800 block of Pierce Butler Route when police showed up about 3:40 a.m. Harrell had fled; White was declared dead at the scene.
White’s 16-year-old brother told police that his sister was upset with Harrell because he had come and gone several times that night, the complaint said. He said his sister and Harrell had argued before going into the bedroom.
The brother told police that he was sleeping on the floor when he was awakened by people arguing. He said that he heard his sister tell Harrell, “Don’t point that gun at me!” and that Harrell hollered back.
At that point, White’s brother said, he heard a gunshot, according to the complaint.
He said he ran into the bedroom and saw Harrell, then hollered at him to get away from his sister. Harrell told White’s brother that he did not mean to shoot White, the complaint said.
Several other people who were in the apartment said that the couple had started arguing after Harrell came home sometime between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. They said White told Harrell that she wanted to break up. They also said they heard a gunshot coming from the bedroom.
Harrell later told police that he had two children by another woman and that his infidelity caused “trust issues” in his relationship with White, according to the complaint.
Later, after turning himself in, Harrell told police that he accidentally shot White when he tried to pull his gun, which he had purchased several days earlier, from his pocket while holding their baby.
According to the complaint, Harrell admitted to police that he had stored the handgun under the baby’s mattress.
Police found the gun on Harrell’s friend, who also was at the apartment at the time of the shooting. The man, identified in the complaint as a “close friend,” told police that Harrell had given him the gun after shooting White and said, “Do something with this.”
Hoped to become a nurse
Family members said that White had planned to attend an Easter brunch with her family on Sunday.
Sasha Cummings, White’s older sister, described White as a spontaneous person who loved to be around people. White graduated from Humboldt High School in 2014, worked at two early-childhood care programs and had hoped to become a nurse, her sister said.
About 100 of White’s relatives and friend — some with flowers, others with balloons — gathered outside her apartment Monday night to hold a candlelight vigil. At one point, KaRynn Cummings,
White’s cousin, addressed the girls and women in the crowd.
“Love doesn’t love you like this,” she said. “Love don’t hurt. Love feels good.”
In 2014, a different woman accused Harrell of picking her up and throwing her onto his car while she was pregnant with his child. Harrell and the woman already had a 2-year-old son together when he allegedly attacked the woman in April of last year.
“ … The petitioner is very fearful for her physical safety … as she is not sure what [Harrell] is capable of doing,” said her petition for an order for protection.
Harrell, whose criminal history includes convictions for burglaries and robbery, was not charged in the case.
The woman later asked the court to dismiss her petition.
In 2014, at least 23 people, most of them women, died in Minnesota as a result of domestic violence, according to the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women.
At least 16 women and two men were killed by spouses and partners. Five friends, relatives or interveners also were slain in domestic-violence incidents.
The deaths left 19 children without mothers, the coalition reported.
Staff writer Chao Xiong contributed to this report