A 28-year-old man who was gunned down on a north Minneapolis street corner in mid-June passed away three weeks later, but uncertainty remains about whether he died of his gunshot wounds or something else.
Police officials, who haven't publicly disclosed the death of Kibbie Walker, are awaiting final word from medical examiners about the cause of death. If it's determined the death was a result of the shooting, the city's homicide tally would rise from 18 to 19.
Walker's name has long been tied to one of Minneapolis' most high-profile gang slayings. His death was first revealed in court filings this week in a case involving a friend of Walker's who is suspected of shooting a rival gang member.
A spokesperson for the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office said the cause and manner of Walker's death have not yet been determined.
Police and community members say that Walker had been on life support for several weeks while recovering from the June 12 shooting, in which he and a 30-year-old man were targeted while hanging out outside a home in the 2500 block of N. Dupont Avenue. Walker was said to have been recovering from his injuries, before suddenly taking a turn for the worse. He died July 8, according to an online fundraising page. No arrests have been made.
On social media, friends and relatives remembered Walker as a smiling, bright spirit. The GoFundMe page seeking donations for his children and relatives featured a photo of a smiling Walker, his arm wrapped around a small child holding up a school award. One woman commented that she had taken an English college class with Walker "years ago," using crying and broken-heart emojis.
But police took a different view.
They say Walker, nicknamed "Prince Kibbie" has been constantly looking over his shoulder since his name surfaced on social media as a suspect in the 2013 downtown club slaying of 1-9 Block Dipset gang leader Tyrone "Crack" Washington. According to court documents, Walker admitted to being inside the since-closed Epic nightclub when Washington was shot but denied taking part in his death.
Washington's death was seen as a major escalation in a bitter and bloody gang conflict that has seen onetime rivals align themselves to form one of two factions: the "High End" or "Highs," with crews such as Taliban/YNT, Tre Tre Crips, Loud Pack and the Emerson Murder Boyz, and the "Low End" or "Lows," made up of 1-9, SUB, Scarface and Skitz Squad. The two sides, whose respective territories fall on either side of W. Broadway, taunt one another over music videos, police say, and these beefs end in gunplay.
Walker had been targeted before, police records show.
He and another man were wounded by a gunman as the two men were leaving their cleaning jobs at Target Field in 2014; two weeks later, police say Walker was shooting at a gang rival when he struck a pregnant woman in the leg, a crime for which he was sentenced to three years in prison.
His life was also threatened after he testified in a federal gang case, police say.
As the city grapples with a surge in gang violence, some inside the department and out worry that Walker's death could touch off another cycle of revenge shootings.
Police say that at least one such attack has already occurred.
According to a search warrant affidavit, a Minneapolis gang investigator recently learned from an informant that one of Walker's friends — a 28-year-old man who police say has a reputation as a "shooter" for the gang — was involved in a drive-by shooting in the area of N. 16th and Sheridan avenues on July 8 — the same day Walker died.
The man allegedly opened fire on a group of Low End gang members hanging out outside a house, from the passenger window of a black Dodge Journey SUV, hitting one of them in the foot, according to the affidavit, filed last week in Hennepin County District Court. Surveillance cameras captured the same SUV driving east down Golden Valley Road shortly after the shooting, police said.
Attempts to reach Walker's family were unsuccessful.