A man was found shot to death just before midnight Friday on a north Minneapolis sidewalk after police responded to a shots-fired sensor.
While police haven’t released the victim’s name, friends gathered at the shooting scene on Saturday morning identified him as Jaquan Oatis, 28, of Minneapolis.
Oatis’ death was the city’s third homicide of the week and the 21st of the year. No one has been arrested.
Officers found the victim after responding to a ShotSpotter activation in the 2900 block of Morgan Avenue N., in the Jordan neighborhood, said police spokesman Corey Schmidt. He died at the scene.
On Saturday, a silver metallic balloon hovered above the spot where Oatis died. There, friends speculated over whether he was targeted or struck in a drive-by shooting. They learned of his death through social media, where friends were lamenting his loss.
Oatis, whose Facebook page says he went to Patrick Henry High School in Minneapolis, had a criminal record that included convictions for assault and illegal possession of a firearm.
“Nobody is perfect,” said friend Tamisha Caples, 28, of New Hope. “Unfortunately, [Jaquan] didn’t have any kids, but he loved kids.”
Another man compared Jaquan to a “soft-shelled turtle.” “He went to church,” the man said. “He’s a protector. If you don’t mess with him, he don’t mess with you.”
Neighbors who live on the corner of 30th and Morgan avenues N. heard the gunshots Friday night — a familiar sound. Around the corner, another memorial of balloons, flowers, empty bottles and a “Black Lives Matter” poster sits for Crystal Collins, a mother of three who died from gun violence on Newton Avenue N. in mid-July.
The night Collins was shot, neighborhood resident Nancy Vue, 26, who is pregnant, had flicked on the television to distract her four children while she took out the garbage; they aren’t allowed in the backyard. Shortly after she got back inside, a bullet ricocheted off the exterior of her house, she said.
“Mommy, it’s fireworks,” one of her children told her. “My kids are very scared even to sit in the living room,” Vue said. “You never know if it’s going to hit you or not.”
Vue grew up down the street from her current home, where she moved five years ago. Walks in the neighborhood remind her of her late father, she said.
A first-time home buyer, she’s worried about relocating if she decides to move. “How are we going to sell?” Vue said. “If it just keeps happening like this, maybe it’s time to move to a safer place.”
Police received reports that several vehicles had left the area after the gunfire was detected by the city’s ShotSpotter network, which uses sensors to pick up the sound of shots fired. Eleven rounds were fired in front of a house on the block, “between the sidewalk and the street,” according to scanner reports.
Witnesses reported seeing two figures bolting from the scene moments after shots rang out, the reports said. No arrests have been announced.
Police were in the neighborhood Saturday looking for information, Schmidt said.
“We encourage the community to talk with our officers about this crime or any other concerns they may have,” he said.
Officers responded to at least three reports of shots fired close to the time of the shooting, according to scanner traffic — in the 5600 block of 42nd Avenue S., the 2300 block of Bryant Avenue N. and the 2000 block of James Avenue N.
Anyone with information can text information anonymously to 847411, entering MPD, a space and the tip. Also, people can call the department’s tip line at 612-692-8477.
Staff writer Libor Jany contributed to this report.