Friends, north Mpls. neighbors mourn woman who was fatally shot

Vigil for Birdell Beeks.
A vigil hosted by Mad Dads was held in honor of Birdell Beeks at the intersection 21st and Penn avenues in Minneapolis on May 31, 2016, near where she was shot while sitting in her van.
Brandt Williams | MPR News

More than 150 people gathered Tuesday evening near the site of the shooting death of 58-year-old Birdell Beeks in north Minneapolis.

Police say Beeks was shot last week while sitting in a minivan near the corner of 21st and Penn Avenue North.

Older sister Linda Beeks thanked everyone for coming out to support her family in their time of grief. And she told the crowd what a caring person her sister was.

"Whenever somebody came over and needed something to eat, she always made sure to go in the freezer, pull out more stuff, say 'let's put this on the grill and go ahead and have a nice time.' And, I just miss her so much."

Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau called Beeks' shooting unacceptable and intolerable.

Community activists voiced outrage about the shooting. Alonzo Elem admonished parents and other adults to get nosy about what their children and other young people in the community are doing. He encouraged them to monitor their kids' social media accounts.

"You got to find out what they're doing and what's going on," Elem said. "We got young brothers out here, thinking they're hard. They're not hard. They're Facebook tough."

Other activists at the vigil said gang members are using social media to issue threats and taunts in order to escalate the violence. Several suspected gang members were recently charged with making threats through a rap video posted on YouTube.

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