Authorities have charged a man who led police on a high-speed chase late last month after being sought for questioning in a recent Minneapolis homicide.
Robert Buckner, 27, has been charged with fleeing police as authorities try to determine his role in the fatal shooting of 34-year-old Pierre Watson at a North Loop neighborhood gathering.
Buckner was released from custody on Friday, with his next court appearance set for the end of the month, jail records show.
Authorities say that an altercation at the party apparently escalated into a shootout that left Watson dead and another man with a gunshot wound to the leg. The incident happened in the early morning hours of July 27 in the 1000 block of W. Lyndale Avenue N.
Three days later, a criminal complaint says that Robbinsdale police spotted Buckner driving and tried to pull him over after learning he was considered a suspect in the homicide and was likely armed. But instead of stopping, the complaint says, he sped away, leading police on a pursuit that wound through rush hour traffic on Hwy. 100 and Interstate 694, reaching speeds of around 80 mph, before officers twice used a tactical maneuver to stop the vehicle. Buckner then fled on foot before authorities eventually cornered him in the basement of a Fridley home.
A firearm was recovered in the vehicle, said the complaint, filed last week in Hennepin County District Court.
No attorney was listed for Buckner in court records.
Police say that Watson was no stranger to violence.
In 2017, he was shot by an acquaintance while hanging out in the area of N. Knox and Plymouth avenues, police say. Weeks later in apparent retaliation, police say that Watson’s uncle ambushed the suspected gunman’s brother, shooting the man once in the head in front of his children behind a Plymouth Avenue apartment complex.
A jury found the uncle, James Woodard, guilty of first-degree murder in the death of 32-year-old Divittin Hoskins; he was later sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
One of Hoskins’ brothers was gunned down on the North Side about a week before Watson’s death.