A 28-year-old woman described as homeless was fatally shot in the head Tuesday evening while waiting at a bus shelter at a busy south Minneapolis street corner, authorities said.
Police said Wednesday morning there have been no arrests in the shooting, which occurred shortly after sunset Tuesday on E. Lake Street at Park Avenue S., next to a Shell gas station.
The woman, identified in a police report as Jessica Denise St. Marie, of Wadena, Minn., suffered "multiple gunshot wounds" and was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center in critical condition, authorities said. She later died, police spokesman John Elder said Wednesday.
"Detectives believe that a dispute occurred between the victim and another individual [and] escalated to a point where the suspect shot the victim," said Elder, who did not reveal a motive for the violence. "The suspect fled the scene and is not in custody at this time."
St. Marie's mother said Jessica was living "primarily in the metro area" at the time of her death. Jane Erckenbrack said she has yet to hear from authorities any specifics regarding the death of her daughter. Police Wednesday said St. Marie was homeless.
Erckenbrack said she and her husband adopted four children, including Jessica when she was 8 years old. Erckenbrack worked for Arlington County, Va., in child protection and her husband, who died two years ago, was an attorney who specialized in child abuse and neglect. The family moved to Wadena, Erckenbrack's hometown, when Jessica was 11.
"I really don't know what she was doing," Erckenbrack said. "Her life was very difficult. There was a hurt little girl in there for all her bravado."
Shortly after gunfire erupted, witnesses reported seeing a vehicle screeching away down a narrow alley across the street from the gas station. Detectives arrived and picked through the shattered glass on the asphalt next to the bus shelter looking for shell casings and other evidence.
The shooting occurred just before 7 p.m. along a stretch of Lake Street in the West Phillips neighborhood that police and residents say has lately avoided the high levels of violent crime that once plagued the surrounding area.
The suspect approached St. Marie on foot, opened fire and fled in a car, police said.
"I heard the shooting, and I saw a body on the sidewalk," said Lynne Aasen. "When I got there to help her, I thought she was already dead. She wasn't moving. She wasn't crying or anything."
Aasen said she resides in Mounds View but lived for many years in the neighborhood where the shooting occurred.
"I used to go to bed at night and hear gunshots," she said. "And I have two kids."
Elder said police patrols in the area are being ramped up Wednesday in response to the killing.
"[Officers will] engage with business owners and residents," Elder said. "We continue to gather more information and urge people to come forward."
Anyone with information about the shooting is urged to call CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or send an anonymous text message to CRIMES (274637) and begin message with: TIP674.