Jeffery L. Logan was in a St. Paul alley, felled by a bullet outside the Attucks-Brooks American Legion Hall, when his assailant approached him early Saturday morning, authorities say.

Holding an arm in front of his face, Logan was heard to say, "No, man, no," before the gunman fired again and again -- five more times, witnesses said.

So came the death of a likable 44-year-old man, part of a large St. Paul family full of "pretty solid citizens," said Nathaniel Khaliq, president of the St. Paul NAACP.

Charged Monday with second-degree murder was Ronald Hill, 20, of West St. Paul, accused of shooting Logan after first attempting to rob him.

The slaying was a "despicable," "cowardly" act -- an "outrage" to the city's old Rondo neighborhood, Khaliq said. "Mr. Hill certainly had other options than to kill Jeffery in cold blood."

Added Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner, "This type of murder frightens and upsets people because it has a 'there but for the grace of God go I' feel to it."

The shooting occurred moments after Hill allegedly ordered Logan's cousin, who was with the victim at the American Legion post, to give up his wallet. The cousin, saying he didn't have much in his possession, emptied his pockets anyway, with a $5 bill being among the items to fall to the ground, according to the criminal complaint against Hill.

Logan died after resisting a similar demand.

Hill made his first court appearance Monday, and he remains in custody at the Ramsey County jail, where he was taken shortly after his arrest Saturday. Bail has been set at $1 million.

Two other men who were arrested along with Hill on Saturday have been released pending further investigation.

Police spokesman Peter Panos said Monday investigators remained hard at work on the case.

'Really cold'

At the American Legion post this weekend, Logan was described by a friend as "the Norm of this place," referring to the wisecracking character in the TV sitcom, "Cheers." He had no children of his own, but was known to dote on his nieces and nephews, children of his five younger siblings. He was a man who didn't mince words, people said.

According to the murder charge filed against Hill Monday:

Logan and his cousin, identified as E.B., left the post at 976 Concordia Av., just before 1 a.m. Saturday and were approached in the parking lot by Hill, who said to them, "Give me your wallet, you know what the [expletive] this is," the cousin later told police. Hill had a gun with a scope on it, the cousin said.

After picking up what E.B. had tossed to the ground, Hill then cocked the gun for firing and ordered Logan to give him his wallet, the cousin said. Instead, Logan struck Hill and he pulled the gunman's shirt over his head before taking off running. Hill shot Logan, and after catching up with him, stood over the victim and shot him five more times, E.B. said.

Another witness told police that he believed that Logan was begging for his life and that he heard him say, "Are you seriously going to do this?"

Hill and a second man who was with him then fled in a Lincoln Town Car that was driven by a third man, who told police he was forced at gunpoint to aid the attempted getaway. He also said that the second man, armed with a revolver, fired back at Logan as they departed.

The car crashed at a roundabout at Laurel Avenue and St. Albans Street. Hill eventually was tracked by an officer and his K-9 partner to a nearby garage, where he was apprehended by the dog.

Police say that they traced the route that Hill and the second man had taken after fleeing the crash, and recovered an Iver Johnson revolver and a black Beretta 9 mm pistol with laser sights and the slide locked back from under the deck of a house. Numerous 9 mm shell casings also were found at the shooting scene, police said.

Gaertner said she was struck not only by the randomness of the crime, but by its brutality. Hill wasn't satisfied, she said, to simply rob the victim, and to shoot him once. He kept shooting, she said, "and that's cold. Really cold."

Anthony Lonetree • 612-673-4109