ST. PAUL, Minn. — A 23-year-old Maplewood man faces several criminal charges, including murder, in connection toon St. Paul's Raspberry Island in August.
The Ramsey County Attorney's Office says Romello Markell Ifonlaja-Randle is charged with the following felonies:
* Second-degree murder with intent
* Second-degree murder without intent (while committing a felony)
* Crime committed for the benefit of a gang
* Possession of ammo/any firearm by a person convicted/adjudicated delinquent for crimes of violence
The fatal shooting happened on the night of Aug. 14 on the island, located south of downtown St. Paul. The criminal complaint states Baker Jr., 20, was inside a vehicle with friends when they were approached by another group who wanted them to stop playing music by a local rap artist associated with gangs on the city's east side.
Baker Jr. refused, and Ifonlaja-Randle — who's associated with west side gangs — allegedly slapped him and then shot him, according to the complaint.
Ifonlaja-Randle and his group fled the island, leaving behind two bottles of tequila in a Target bottle carrier, the complaint states. Surveillance camera footage from the island and the bottles helped investigators make a connection to Ifonlaja-Randle's friend, who purchased the liquor with Target's Cartwheel app, according to the complaint. Surveillance footage from the West St. Paul Target showed Ifonlaja-Randle and his friend making the purchase hours before the shooting.
The complaint says two days after the shooting, officers found a 9mm "" equipped with a laser sight on the rocks below the bridge that runs over the island. Ballistics investigators matched the weapon to a casing found on the island.
DNA found on the gun's muzzle was a positive match for Ifonlaja-Randle, the complaint states. Phone records of Ifonlaja-Randle and his friend also tied them to the scene on Aug. 14. Police arrested both men in Brooklyn Center on Aug. 30, and recovered several handguns and illegal pills, the complaint states.
Police say Ifonlaja-Randle denied any knowledge of the murder and told investigators he had never been to Raspberry Island. A witness who was in the vehicle with Baker Jr. when he was shot identified Ifonlaja-Randle as the shooter.
Ifonlaja-Randle was previously convicted of two first-degree aggravated robberies and a fourth-degree assault. He was originally charged in September, but the attorney's office amended the charges last week.
Ifonlaja-Randle is being held at the Ramsey County Jail. The combined maximum sentence for all the charges against him totals 175 years in prison.
Baker Jr.'s death marked St. Paul's 23rd homicide of 2023.
NOTE: The original airdate of the video attached to this article is Aug. 31, 2023.
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