Minneapolis police are hoping that chatter in school halls will help solve the shooting deaths of two North Side teenagers.
The killings of Quantell Braxton, 14, on Aug. 20 and Ray'Jon Gomez, 13, on Aug. 24 have led to vigils, angry demonstrations and calls for parents to keep their teens out of harm's way. Investigators said the boys were targeted by their killers, not the victims of stray gunfire, but no motive has been ascribed in either homicide. Investigators say there's no evidence that the shootings are connected.
No one has been arrested in either case, so police made another appeal for help on Monday -- the first day of classes in Minneapolis Public Schools.
"Kids are starting school today," said Chief Tim Dolan. "Kids talk. That solves a lot of cases for us."
Officers stopped groups of kids all weekend on the North Side to talk with them about the killings, said Inspector Mike Martin, who heads the precinct that covers north Minneapolis.
"The kids that we talked to were shellshocked," Martin said. "They're devastated by this."
In his many years serving in the Minneapolis Police Department, Dolan said, he can't recall kids so young being targeted in such a way.
Monday's news conference focused on Braxton, who the chief said didn't appear to be involved in a gang.
Police said that just before he was killed, Braxton was doing what many kids do on summer evenings -- he was playing tag with friends near North Commons Park.
Gomez was riding bikes with friends when he was shot.
Anyone with information in either case can make an anonymous call to CrimeStoppers at 1-800- 222-8477. The organization is offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information in either case.
Matt McKinney• 612-673-7329