Minneapolis police investigate possible gang connection to Epic killing

Gang violence may behind the death of a man shot inside Epic nightclub Nov. 3, according to court documents filed recently in Hennepin County District Court.

Police say Tyrone Washington Jr., 27, was shot in the downtown club and found dead outside on the sidewalk around 1 a.m.  Homicide investigator Sgt. Emily Dunphy states in a search warrant that Washington -- referred to in the warrant as TW -- was a "known member of the 19 Block DipSet."

Dunphy filed the warrant in order to search the contents of the Facebook page of a 22-year-old man from a rival gang who was at the club during the shooting.  Another 24-year-old man, also described as being in a rival gang from Washington, was named in the warrant and was at the club.

MPR News redacted their names in the document posted below because they have not been charged with a crime.

One of the men allegedly posted comments on Facebook about the shooting. Dunphy says the 22-year-old man told her he "did not like the victim because he was in a rival gang."  However, she wrote the man said he was "not responsible for the murder, but was not sad that TW was dead."

Dunphy writes in the warrant that a witness told her Washington had an "ongoing problem" with members of the street gangs Young N Thuggin' (YNT) and Taliban.  Minneapolis police say YNT and Taliban are allied gangs that sell drugs in north Minneapolis.  They say the gangs are in an ongoing conflict with members of the 19 Block DipSet, also referred to as the 1-9 Dipset. Investigators also say members of the gangs are often armed and are known to commit acts of violence.

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Minneapolis police chief Janee Harteau walked a beat near the club the day after the shooting.  She said she fears the killing will lead to retaliatory violence.  And Harteau said investigators have struggled to get any help finding Washington's killer.

"Our challenge is that we have witnesses that are less than cooperative," Harteau said. "Because our victim has an extensive criminal history, his associates are not very cooperative, so I have tremendous concern about retaliation, which is why I'm here."

According to the search warrant, an anonymous source told police the 22-year-old man had used "phone communications to threaten the victim, TW." And police say the 22-year-old is willing to turn himself in regarding the murder.