Murder charge dismissed against Rochester man who shot and killed a teen

Prosecutors in Olmsted County dropped a murder case against a Rochester man on Monday after two juries failed to render verdicts.

Alexander Weiss
Alexander Weiss
Olmsted County Jail via AP

Authorities charged 26-year-old Alexander William Weiss in the shooting death of 17-year-old Mohammed Rahim in January 2018.

According to the criminal complaint, Weiss was driving in Rochester, Minn., on a Sunday morning when he saw a Chevy Cavalier moving too fast and crash into a storm drain. Weiss said he pulled up behind Rahim's Chevy to help, but Rahim backed up and hit Weiss' Subaru.

Weiss, who has a permit to carry a gun, told police he shot Rahim in self-defense after Rahim and a passenger became verbally aggressive. Weiss claimed that Rahim "got in his face and spat on him," according to the complaint.

Police and prosecutors said Weiss' actions did not meet the self-defense standard. But trials in May and October ended in hung juries.

In a statement, Olmsted County Attorney Mark Ostrem said because a unanimous verdict is highly improbable, he has ethical and legal obligations to dismiss the charge.

“I believe strongly that Mr. Weiss’s decision to shoot Muhammed Rahim was unjustified,” Ostrem said in a news release Monday. “[The incident is] a tragic result of a series of choices by many people, including Mr. Weiss’s choice to brandish and discharge his weapon.”

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