An 18-year-old and three juveniles were charged Thursday in a fatal shooting last week at the Mall of America in which three guns were fired, sending shoppers into lockdown for a third time since the past holiday season.
TaeShawn Adams-Wright, 18, of Minneapolis and a 17-year-old were charged in Hennepin County District Court with second-degree murder and second-degree assault in the killing of Johntae Hudson, 19, of St. Paul on Dec. 23.
The 17-year-old remained at large Thursday, and a nationwide warrant has been issued for his arrest.
Two other 17-year-olds were charged with second-degree riot for their alleged role in the shooting inside the Nordstrom department store as customers and employees scrambled for cover.
Bloomington police say a dispute between two groups of young men led to the exchange of gunfire. The suspects fled, and on Christmas Eve, SWAT officers arrested five people, ages 17 and 18, at a home in St. Louis Park.
Police Chief Booker Hodges said all five would be charged with suspicion of second-degree murder. In an interview Thursday, he said some suspects are refusing to cooperate with the investigation.
"We expect additional arrests and criminal charges associated with this case in the near future," Hodges said. "Our detectives continue to work tirelessly on this case. Their job is made more difficult because those involved have been and continue to be uncooperative."
Adams-Wright and a Minneapolis teenager — who has not been charged as an adult and is identified in court documents only as L.L. — fired at Hudson, according to the criminal complaint. The Star Tribune generally does not name juveniles unless they are charged as adults. Adams-Wright was scheduled to make his first court appearance Friday.
According to the charges:
Surveillance video shows Hudson being chased throughout Nordstrom before he was shot eight times shortly before 8 p.m. in the store's men's clothing department. He died at the scene despite life-saving efforts by eyewitnesses, mall security and first responders. .
Police found 9-millimeter and .40-caliber cartridge casings near his body. Nearby, they also found a .40-caliber firearm that was "determined to be associated" with Hudson. Two of the casings were from that gun.
According to the riot charges, the 17-year-olds knew that members of their groups were armed. They appeared Thursday afternoon in juvenile court, and prosecutors are petitioning to prosecute one of them as an adult.
That teen is accused of chasing Hudson after he fled the suspects when they blocked an escalator to him and his two friends. The teen tackled Hudson, and they struggled. Surveillance video shows Adams-Wright and L.L. holding firearms and running toward Hudson.
Meanwhile, customers and employees tried to hide as the young men ran into and knocked over store displays.
L.L. pointed a gun toward Hudson, and the video shows a muzzle flash. Adams-Wright "took a shooting stance" over Hudson, while L.L. also stood over him. Although the cameras were obstructed, one records a handgun pointed at Hudson and a bright muzzle flash reflected on the floor.
Hudson did not move and was found bleeding from his wounds. The charges and Hodges did not specify whether Hudson was believed to have fired the gun with the spent casings found next to him or who fired first.
"It appears he had a gun next to him, and it fired twice." Hodges said. "We don't know the sequence yet."
The surveillance video shows a mother and her teenager daughter who were shopping in Nordstrom at the time trying to take cover "mere feet from where the shots were being fired," according to the charges. A bullet apparently grazed the mother's buttock, and she later found a gunshot hole in her coat.
After the arrests Saturday, police searched cellphones and discovered a video of one of the suspects confronting a friend of Hudson's at the mall before the shooting.
Hodges said police will continue to do what they can to keep the mall and city of Bloomington safe. "At the end of the day, it just comes down to people who just have a complete lack of respect for human life," he said.
Hudson's sister, Ja'Nayea Hudson, 22, wrote on an online fundraising page that he was "the most loving and caring person to his family and friends. He radiated positive and fun energy and his smile lit up the room."
It was the mall's latest incident involving firearms within the past year.
On this past New Year's Eve, shoppers were sent scrambling after two people were shot and wounded in an altercation on the third floor.
In August, Bloomington police went on another manhunt after gunfire erupted inside the Nike store crowded with shoppers. Two suspects were later arrested by the FBI in Chicago. Three weeks later, a gunman armed with a rifle robbed the Lids store at the MOA.
The mall added metal detectors at its north entrance in October in a testing phase, but they were not operational at the time of last weekend's shooting, spokeswoman Laura Utecht said in a statement.
Utecht said additional security measures have been taken that are both visible and nonvisible to visitors, including cameras, patrol dogs, bike patrol, and plain clothes officers.
The mall is also implementing bag checks at entrances, but some shoppers on social media have questioned the policy and said it seemingly targets women with purses, diaper bags and strollers.
In response, Utecht said in an email that "all bags will be checked, and people will need to open their coats."
She added: "We take the safety and security of our guests, team members, and tenants very seriously."
This month, the mall reached an undisclosed settlement in a lawsuit filed by the family of a 5-year-old boy thrown over a third-floor balcony in 2019. The family accused MOA security of failing to investigate their son's attacker, who had two prior bans at the mall and displayed suspicious activity there the day before the attack.