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Police Arrest Mekhi Speed, 17, In Case That Led To Amir Locke's Shooting Death

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) -- A source from the St. Paul Police Department tells WCCO that they have arrested a homicide suspect from the case that ultimately led to the death of Amir Locke last week inside a downtown Minneapolis apartment. The charging documents against the suspect indicate that he was Locke's cousin.

Police say that they arrested the suspect, who is 17 years old, in Winona Monday afternoon. The Winona police chief has confirmed that his agency assisted St. Paul police.

Police have confirmed that the person they've arrested is believed to be connected with the homicide of Otis Elder, who was shot and killed on the 500 block of North Prior Avenue last month.

The suspect is currently being processed in Ramsey County. Later Tuesday morning, the Ramsey County Attorney said that they had filed a petition against the suspect for two counts of second-degree murder.

There's no indication at this point that Locke was at all a part of this investigation.

Prosecutors are petitioning for the 17-year-old -- identified as Mekhi Camden Speed, of Minneapolis -- to be tried as an adult. Under Minnesota law, it's presumed a child will face trial as an adult if they are 16 or older and the alleged crime would result in a prison sentence or was a felony involving a firearm. Speed is expected to make his first appearance at the Ramsey County Juvenile and Family Justice Center Tuesday afternoon.

Steve Meshbesher, a lawyer representing Speed, said the teen plans to plead not guilty.

The warrant served that day is sealed. Police are asking for the warrant to be unsealed as soon as possible.

Charging Document Details

The charges filed against Speed indicate that police executed search warrants on three separate apartments in the Bolero Flats, where Locke was fatally shot. Investigators say that officers were intending to arrest the teen suspect and two associates for murder and aiding an offender after the fact.

Witnesses said he lived with his mother in Apartment 1402, and also has a key to 701 — where his brother lives and where Locke was shot by police, according to the document. Speed was not in the unit where the fatal police shooting occurred.

Another person who was identified on the surveillance video was associated with apartment 1403, prosecutors said.

READ MORE: Charges Against Mekhi Camden Speed (.PDF)

Police connected the Jan. 10 shooting of Elder to a stolen silver Mercedes-Benz; it had been reported stolen last November, and police say it had been used in multiple armed robberies in December. It's described in the criminal complaint as having front-end damage and a "lit front emblem." The vehicle had been recovered in a parking ramp in Minneapolis in late January, and investigators say that Speed's fingerprint was found on it.

For weeks, officers attempted to locate Speed, contacting his mother several times, as well as his probation officer. He was ultimately located in Winona, after attempting to flee officers. The charges state he had a loaded gun in his jacket, the same jacket seen being worn by the person on surveillance video of Elder's shooting.

According to the Winona Police Department, Speed may face additional charges related to possessing the loaded gun.

Elder's family says they're glad there's an arrest, and say they feel for Locke's family.

"No parent should have to bury their son, but it was a high-risk warrant," said Motika Elder, Otis Elder's sister.

She believes police went in trying to get justice for her brother.

"The police had to. They went in because of the way they killed Otis," she said. "They murdered him cold-blooded for no reason."

Speed's brother, Marlon Cornelius Speed, lives in apartment 701 and was there on the night Locke was killed, the charging document says.

Marlon Speed pleaded guilty in 2019 to one misdemeanor count of obstructing the legal process and interfering with an officer in connection with a 2018 traffic stop in which he allegedly threatened to spit on and beat up an officer. The officer's hand was injured in a struggle. Last November, Marlon Speed was charged with domestic assault by strangulation for an incident in which he allegedly choked his sister after she tried to intervene when he hit his girlfriend with a belt. That case against Marlon Speed is pending.

WCCO has obtained footage from MnDOT traffic management cameras that appears to show the Mercedes-Benz that Speed allegedly used as a getaway car on Jan. 10. The footage shows the car driving at 9:33 p.m. in the direction of travel that matches the route from the murder scene to downtown Minneapolis. MnDOT would not identify the vehicle.

Amir Locke Shooting

Officer Mark Hanneman shot Locke last Wednesday morning as a SWAT team conducted a search warrant connected to a murder in St. Paul. Body-camera footage showed the 22-year-old was sleeping on a couch when the team entered the living room. As he awoke, Locke grabbed his handgun nearby and was soon shot three times by Hanneman.

Interim Police Chief Amelia Huffman said Locke was not named in the original search warrant.

Hundreds marched through the streets of downtown Minneapolis Tuesday night, where they made clear their demands: the officer who shot Locke must be charged, Interim Chief Huffman and Mayor Jacob Frey must go, and no-knock warrants must end.

"I want accountability," Ashley Dorelus said.

Pamela Weems brought her 9-year-old grandson to witness history.

"I wanted him to experience what it is to speak out, to have a voice," Weems said.

The St. Paul Police Department does not use no-knock warrants, but they said since they were serving a warrant in Minneapolis, they went with the Minneapolis Police Department's preference to have no-knock warrant in this case. Typically, a judge has to unseal a warrant.

Two WCCO sources later confirmed that it was Peter Cahill, the judge who presided over the Derek Chauvin trial, who signed off on the no-knock search warrant.

Mayor Jacob Frey on Friday imposed a moratorium on both the request and execution of no-knock warrants in Minneapolis.

"No matter what information comes to light, it won't change the fact that Amir Locke's life was cut short," Frey said, in a statement. "To ensure safety of both the public and officers until a new policy is crafted, I'm issuing a moratorium on both the request and execution of such warrants in Minneapolis."

The Minnesota BCA is investigating the police shooting, while St. Paul's homicide investigation remains ongoing. As mentioned above, the search warrants initially filed to enter the apartment are under seal until a court determines otherwise, per standard practice and Minnesota law.

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison will work with the Hennepin County Attorney's Office to review the police shooting and potential charges.

"I promise the Locke family and all Minnesotans that we will work with the Hennepin County Attorney's Office to conduct a fair and thorough review of the BCA investigation and that we will be guided by the values of accountability and transparency," Ellison said in a statement. "To protect the integrity of the investigation, only limited informational statements will be released until the conclusion of the investigation."

(© Copyright 2022 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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