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Jailed St. Paul man named in gang threat to kill a cop

  • Article by: JOY POWELL
  • Star Tribune
  • January 10, 2013 - 10:48 PM

A St. Paul man, arrested this week on a gun charge, has been described in court papers as being at the center of threats by gang members to assassinate a metro police officer.

Those plans have had metro police on high alert since late October, when St. Paul officers shot to death Victor Gaddy during a drug arrest that went awry. Police soon began fielding information that Chicago gang members were planning a retaliatory killing of an officer in the Twin Cities.

"Over the past several weeks, there have been reports of threats against the lives of police officers, in particular St. Paul, over the recent shooting of a high-ranking member of the Gangster Disciples by St. Paul Police," a new search warrant states. "Intelligence was developed by police there would be retaliation for the shooting."

The man mentioned at "the center of these threats," the affidavit says, is a 23-year-old member of the Gangster Disciples who is on probation for terroristic threats. He's currently charged in Hennepin County with a counterfeit-money scheme.

After a traffic stop early Sunday on St. Paul's East Side, the felon was arrested along with two other men on suspicion of ineligibly possessing a stolen pistol, according to affidavits for search warrants that officers served this week.

Information gathered before Sunday's stop suggests that the gang had intended to kill either a St. Paul or Minneapolis police officer in retaliation for Gaddy's death.

Gaddy, 41, of St. Paul, was fatally shot by St. Paul police about 4 p.m. on Oct. 23 during a Minneapolis police narcotics investigation after Minneapolis police asked St. Paul police to stop his car. He had rammed an unmarked police vehicle on E. Jessamine Avenue at Westminster Street, nearly pinning an officer between the cars, then backed into another police vehicle.

In the most recent case, shortly after 2 a.m. Sunday, an officer patrolling near Earl Street and E. Minnehaha Avenue stopped a car that was stopping oddly in an intersection. The vehicle registration showed that the car's owner, Larry Darnell Johnson, 32, of St. Paul, was wanted in Washington County in a domestic assault case. Johnson's license had been suspended.

In the car was the 23-year-old man known to be a member of the Gangster Disciples and a 27-year-old man.

St. Paul patrol officer Dan Michener had the car impounded. Inside were two guns, including one that had been reported stolen from a pawnshop in Hastings, the affidavits say.

Officers on Monday obtained search warrants for at least one apartment, the 23-year-old suspect's cellphone records and a second phone found in the car. They seized marijuana, a scale, cash and other items.

Police haven't yet presented the case to prosecutors for review for possible charges, Dennis Gerhardstein, a spokesman for the Ramsey County attorney's office, said Thursday.

Howie Padilla, a police spokesman, said the case remains under investigation.

Joy Powell • 651-925-5038

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