Man charged in fatal shooting at St. Paul gas station
- Article by: Nicole Norfleet
- Star Tribune
- January 6, 2014 - 9:27 PM
An 18-year-old man was charged Monday with murder, accused of shooting and killing a man during a botched drug deal at a St. Paul gas station.
Antonio R. Seals, of St. Paul, was charged in Ramsey County District Court with second-degree murder in the death of Devonte R. Coppage, 22, of Brooklyn Park, who was shot Friday night at the BP gas station at Maryland and White Bear Avenues.
According to a criminal complaint:
Police responded to a report of shots fired around 6:30 p.m. and found Coppage dead inside the station.
A man who identified himself as Coppage’s brother told police that Coppage had hung out at his home earlier that day before calling someone to buy marijuana. The brothers then went to the gas station to meet with the seller. When they arrived, one of three men in a dark-colored vehicle parked nearby motioned to them.
After going into the gas station with one of the men, Coppage returned to the car and got into the back seat. He told his brother to wait outside the car near the gas station.
A short time later, Coppage’s brother heard three to five gunshots. As the car sped away, he pulled his brother, who was on the ground in the parking lot, into the store to get him out of the cold.
Police later found two sandwich baggies of marijuana, a .22-caliber handgun and blood on the north side of the gas station property.
Not long after the shooting, a police officer spotted a dark blue car with three men inside pulling up quickly to Regions Hospital. The driver told police that he was dropping off a friend who had been shot. Police arrested the driver and towed the car.
Officers tried to talk to a second man and also to Seals, who was treated for a gunshot wound to the arm, but they weren’t cooperative. Both were arrested. When Seals later talked to police, he gave them several different street locations where the shooting took place. When questioned again, Seals told police, “Dude shot me first.”
Seals said that he used a friend’s phone to talk with Coppage about buying $300 worth of marijuana. He said that while in the car, Coppage acted like he was going to pull money out of his jacket but instead opened the door and shot Seals, Seals said. He then shot Coppage, Seals said.
Police, however, told Seals that it appeared from the bullet recovered from his arm that he shot himself.
On Saturday, police located a .38-caliber special revolver inside a stocking cap near Case Avenue and Omaban Street. They believe the bullet from Seals’ arm came from the .38-caliber handgun, according to the complaint.
An autopsy revealed Coppage was shot multiple times.
Coppage’s family wasn’t immediately available for comment Monday.
The homicide was the city’s first this year.
Nicole Norfleet • 612-673-4495
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