Hennepin County prosecutors on Friday announced charges in two recent Minneapolis homicides: the fatal shooting earlier this week of a teenage boy in an apparent drug deal and the June 8 beating death of a homeless man near downtown.
Armajea Warren, 18, of New Hope, was charged Friday in connection with the shooting death of 17-year-old Austin Young in north Minneapolis’ Jordan neighborhood Tuesday.
Warren, who is charged with second-degree murder, is expected to make his initial court appearance on Monday. He is being held on $1 million bond.
Young was killed around 10:35 p.m. Tuesday after he and another person arranged to sell marijuana to two women in the area of 26th and Knox avenues N., according to a criminal complaint. After a brief discussion, the two women got out of Young’s sport-utility vehicle and returned a short time later with Warren and two other men who tried to rob Young at gunpoint, the complaint said.
Although Warren initially pulled a gun and pointed it at Young, demanding that he “give me everything,” prosecutors believe another man fired the fatal shot.
According to authorities, Young’s companion in the SUV grabbed the steering wheel with one hand and pushed the accelerator with the other as he tried to drive away, but ended up crashing into several parked cars. Young was pronounced dead at the scene.
The three male suspects fled before police arrived. Neither the alleged shooter nor the other suspect had been charged as of Friday afternoon.
Also on Friday, Duane Blackbull was accused of beating a man to death at a homeless encampment under the Interstate 394 bridge near Dunwoody Avenue. The victim’s identity has yet to be released.
Blackbull, 42, who is homeless, was charged with second-degree murder and is being held on $1 million bond.
While canvassing the area near where the killing occurred, police learned from a witness that Blackbull had attacked the victim after accusing the man of sleeping with Blackbull’s girlfriend while he was in prison, the filing said.
Blackbull and the witness were arrested Wednesday at a memorial service for the victim. The witness later told investigators that Blackbull bragged to him about punching and kicking the victim until he was unconscious, prosecutors said. Blackbull allegedly threatened to kill the witness if he told anyone about the attack.
After obtaining a search warrant for the witness’ tent, detectives found a shirt, white shoes and a pair of jeans, all of which were covered with blood. They discovered Blackbull’s ID in one of the pockets, according to court filings.
An autopsy found the victim suffered multiple blunt-force injuries, but the cause of death has not yet been determined.
The slayings came amid a recent wave of violence that has left five dead and even more wounded in a rash of stabbings and shootings.