Minneapolis police are investigating the fatal shooting of a man near 30th and Emerson avenues N. in north Minneapolis around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday night.
Family members at the scene identified the victim as 19-year-old Elija Larkin.
Larkin had stepped off the Metro Transit bus less than a block from the home he shared with his grandmother, relatives said, when he got in a physical altercation with another man. He was shot multiple times and ran inside the nearby New Bethel Baptist Church for cover, they said.
Police spokesman John Elder confirmed that the incident began as a dispute that “turned physical and then turned into gun violence.” No one is in custody.
Investigators were combing the church’s premises hours after the shooting.
A 7 p.m. Bible study class had been scheduled at New Bethel on Wednesday night and its doors were unlocked, a parishioner said. Those arriving for the meeting were unable to attend because the area was taped off by police.
Larkin had a daughter on the way and had recently started a new job at the nearby So Low Grocery Outlet to help support the family.
Cousins grieving at the scene said they worried Larkin hung around “the wrong crowd” but didn’t believe he had ever joined a gang or carried a weapon.
“People here knew him for fighting with his hands,” said Evangeline Larkin, a cousin. “These boys don’t fight no more. They want to pull guns, and he wasn’t that guy.”
“I’m so sick and tired of this. Too many parents go through it.”
The Hennepin County medical examiner will officially announce Larkin’s cause and manner of death.
A Facebook post on the North Minneapolis Crime Watch page identified the gunman as a 16-year-old male wearing a black hoodie, and said he fled on foot.
Fatal shooting in St. Paul
In St. Paul, police were called to the intersection of Cypress Street and Reaney Avenue around 6 p.m. on a report of shots fired.
A gunman shot another man in a crowd of 30 to 40 people gathered for a vigil to honor the life of a loved one who had died exactly three years ago, police said.
The suspect fled the area while the victim was taken to the hospital in a private vehicle, said St. Paul Police spokesman Steve Linders. On the way there, those helping the victim flagged down an ambulance near St. Paul Fire Department’s Station 4. Fire medics treated the victim for his injuries and later pronounced him dead.
No arrests have been made, but police don’t believe there’s any further risk to the public.
“Their vigil was interrupted by a senseless act of violence,” Linders said. “We need to partner with the community to keep the streets safe and solve this crime.”
The Ramsey County medical examiner will release the victim’s identity and his exact cause of death.
Anyone with information on either shooting is asked to call CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or send an anonymous tip to CRIMES (274637) and begin message with: TIP674.