One night in late October, Shawn Jones and his crew met up in St. Paul’s Summit-University neighborhood to record a rap video taunting a rival gang.
Fifteen minutes later, while Jones stuck around to talk to a friend, a white van pulled up and the driver shot at them, killing Jones, 28, of St. Paul Park.
The Ramsey County Attorney’s Office has charged Marcus Baker, 33, of Oakdale and his brother, Brandon Baker, 27, of White Bear Lake in connection with the fatal shooting of Jones — the latest in a spate of killings that has shaken St. Paul.
Authorities say the Baker brothers belong to a gang that’s a rival to that of Jones and the others who livestreamed the rap video just before the shooting.
Marcus Baker faces a count of second-degree murder and second-degree attempted murder; his brother is charged with two counts of aiding an offender.
Jones’ death ranks among the city’s 29 homicides so far this year, the most St. Paul has seen in 25 years. The spike in violence has taken a toll on the city’s residents, some of whom vented frustration this week at a listening session with Mayor Melvin Carter.
Police found Jones slumped over in his car around 11:30 p.m. on Oct. 27 at the intersection of St. Anthony Avenue and N. Dale Street. Ten .40-caliber bullet casings were strewn around the vehicle. Emergency responders took Jones to Regions Hospital, where he died of a single gunshot wound to the chest.
Surveillance cameras captured the shooting, according to the charges. Investigators tracked a white van seen on the video to an apartment complex in Oakdale, where they reviewed surveillance footage of the van arriving at the complex 16 minutes after the shooting. The footage shows two suspects exiting the van, placing items in a bag, removing the van’s license plates, then throwing something in a dumpster. Investigators determined that a woman who has a child with Marcus Baker lives in an apartment at the complex. Surveillance footage also shows Marcus Baker driving the van on several occasions. The van was later discovered abandoned at a fast-food restaurant in Hudson, Wis.
When police pulled over Marcus and Brandon Baker on Nov. 5, they found a loaded .40-caliber handgun and a box of live rounds in the vehicle.
Neither brother cooperated with police during interviews, according to the charges. Police later executed a search warrant at the home Brandon Baker shares with his girlfriend. On the kitchen island were three large notes that read, in part: “If we found ourselves in a situation I’m not going to tell on you because I know how the system works (probably better than you!) … They can’t charge me without evidence or testimony so I won’t do any time and if you shut up either will you!”
Brandon Baker’s girlfriend told police that she wrote the note and said it was about a TV show.
The brothers remain in the Ramsey County jail.