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Suspects in triple homicide make initial court appearance

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Mahdi Hassan Ali, Ahmed Shire Ali
These undated images provided by the Hennepin County Sheriff shows Mahdi Hassan Ali (left) and Ahmed Shire Ali, both of Minneapolis. The two were each charged on three counts of murder in the Jan. 6 killings at Seward Market and Halal Meat. The teens were charged as adults. They are not related.
AP Photo/Hennepin County Sheriff

The two teenagers charged with triple homicide in last week's shooting at a Minneapolis corner market made their initial court appearances Friday. 

Hennepin County District Court Judge Gary Larson set bond at $3 million each for defendants Ahmed Shire Ali and Mahdi Hassan Ali.

The two 17-year-olds were charged with three counts of first-degree murder Thursday for the shooting at the Seward Market that left three men dead. The defendants were automatically subject to trials as adults.

According to the criminal complaint, the pair entered Seward Market last Wednesday evening wearing masks. Speaking in Somali, Ahmed Shire Ali allegedly told two witnesses not to move. Prosecutors said Mahdi Hassan Ali was the one with a gun. 

The witnesses heard someone yell, "This is a robbery" from the front of the store, according to the complaint. 

Prosecutors say surveillance video showed Mahdi Hassan Ali direct two store employees at gunpoint onto the floor and demand money. The video then shows a customer walk in and interrupt the robbery. Mahdi Hassan Ali shot the customer, according to the complaint. Prosecutors allege that Mahdi Hassan Ali then shot one of the store employees he had ordered to the ground. 

Mahdi Hassan Ali and Ahmed Shire Ali were running from the store, but Mahdi Ali ran back into the store, chased down, shot and killed a third man as he attempted to make a cell phone call, according to the complaint. 

The victims were Osman Jama Elmi, 28, of St. Paul, Mohamed Abdi Warfa, 30, of Savage, and Anwar Salah Mohammed, 31,  of Brooklyn Park. Warfa was a store employee, Mohammed was the customer who walked in, and Elmi was the man who was shot while on his cell phone. Elmi and Warfa were Somali. Mohammed was Oromo. 

The next hearing for Ahmed Shire Ali is scheduled for Feb. 17 at 1:30 p.m. Mahdi Hassan Ali's hearing is set for Feb. 18 at 1:30 p.m.