An 18-year-old man said he and a teenage girl concocted a robbery spree because they needed to pay their rent and ended up killing one of their victims, according to murder charges filed Friday.

Willie A. Sparkman Jr. of Moorhead, Minn., was charged in Clay County District Court with second-degree murder and two robbery counts in connection with the death of 24-year-old Abdullahi M. Abdullahi, whose body was found about 3:30 a.m. Wednesday by police in the wreckage of his van in the 300 block of S. 20th Street next to railroad tracks.

Sparkman was tracked down Wednesday night by police and booked into the Cass County jail in Fargo, where he remains also held on suspicion of targeting two women for robbery earlier that night.

The driver's employer, Doyle's Yellow Checker Cab, said in a statement that "our fellow colleague Abdullahi Mohamed Abdullahi has been taken away from us too soon by an evil act. He was a great addition to our team, well mannered, very respectful, kind hearted, and hard working young man."

More broadly, the company said, "Let's strive to be better and spread more love, especially to those who need it the most."

Shortly before midnight Tuesday in Fargo, Sparkman was armed while attempting to rob a woman, police said. However, her screaming sent the suspect running.

The other crime attributed to Sparkman in Fargo occurred about 2:30 a.m. Wednesday, when officers were dispatched about 1 ¼ miles north for a robbery, according to police.

Sparkman's roommate also was charged for her alleged role in the killing, the County Attorney's Office said. She remains in custody; her identity has yet to be released.

According to the criminal complaint:

Officers dispatched to the crash scene saw a puncture wound to Abdullahi's armpit. They put pressure on the wound and began CPR. Ambulance personnel arrived and declared Abdullahi dead.

A police detective found a bullet casing just west of the crash scene. The detective's review of video surveillance of a parking lot showed a suspect later identified as Sparkman approach the cab, which drove away as the teen fled on foot. The taxi soon crashed.

The cab company turned over to police the phone number associated with a call for service that directed Abdullahi to the parking lot. The caller listed on the phone was a 17-year-old girl who lives with Sparkman. She had reported to police that Sparkman stole two handguns from her, one with a caliber matching the bullet casing near the scene.

Sparkman was found at his home by law enforcement and admitted shooting Abdullahi while trying to rob him but said it was an accident. He said he and the girl needed money for rent, and used her phone to lure Abdullahi to the parking lot. He also admitted to the other robbery incidents earlier that night.

The girl admitted her role in plotting the robberies with Sparkman. She said she drove their car that night and provided him with a knife as a weapon.

An online fundraising campaign has been started to help Abdullahi's family with expenses and related costs.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482