It was supposed to have been a day of fun at Mall of America with friends. One of the men who was going pulled out his phone and started livestreaming himself and two others riding down N. 7th Avenue, smoking and cracking jokes.
The recording, viewed and shared thousands of times on Facebook before it was taken down, also captured what happened next: the sound of gunfire and cries of pain after a drive-by shooting on the edge of downtown Minneapolis left one of the men dead and another injured on Sunday afternoon. “Stay with me,” a woman’s pleading voice is heard saying over and over again, minutes after the shooting.
Community leaders identified Denzyl Bacon-Jackson as the man who was fatally shot, in the city’s sixth homicide of the year. Bacon-Jackson died a week shy of his 21st birthday.
Another video of the shooting’s aftermath, also posted to Facebook, showed a police officer checking on a man lying facedown on the pavement next to the car, which had its windows shot out.
According to police radio transmissions posted online, the suspect vehicle was described as a burgundy Dodge.
The other victim, also 20, was taken by ambulance to HCMC with critical injuries, but officials there would not disclose his condition on Monday.
Police were similarly tight-lipped about the progress of their investigation, with department spokesman John Elder saying Monday that efforts to identify suspects were “going well” but declining further comment.
Hours after the shooting Sunday, a few dozen relatives and friends gathered at the scene near the 7th Street overpass above Interstate 94, in a tense scene that saw several people having to be held back from running through the police tape stretched around the shot-up car.
By Monday, the only sign of violence at the corner was a sign urging passing motorists to “honk for Denzyl” and a red balloon fluttering in the afternoon breeze. A planned vigil was called off at the last minute.
So far, no motive for the shooting has been disclosed by police.
One theory that began circulating among family members and on social media in the hours after the attack was that it may have been related to an earlier double shooting.
In that shooting, two women were wounded as they were standing inside a house in the 700 block of Penn Avenue N., just before 1 a.m. on March 24, according to court filings. The area’s ShotSpotter network tallied 27 gunshots, police said. Moments after the shooting, police spotted a white four-door sedan heading northbound on Penn past Plymouth Avenue, with its headlights off. Suspecting it may have been involved in the shooting, police said they tried to pull the car over, but the driver sped away, leading officers on a brief chase that ended in the area of 17th and Morgan avenues, where the three occupants got out and fled on foot.
One of the suspects, a 32-year-old Brooklyn Park man, was arrested near North Commons Park and later charged with participating in a drive-by shooting and with fleeing police.
Elder, the police spokesman, would not comment Monday on whether the two incidents are related.
K.G. Wilson, an anti-violence crusader who for years has been holding prayer vigils at homicide scenes around the city, said that he visited briefly with Bacon-Jackson’s family on Sunday. The young man’s sudden death had left them stunned and angry, Wilson said.
He worried that unless police make a quick arrest, more further bloodshed could follow.
“Right now, things are heated,” Wilson said. “Retaliation, I’m quite sure, could be in the air.”