Locke killing: Teen charged in St. Paul shooting tied to no-knock warrant

a memorial of flowers and candles in the snow
A makeshift memorial lays in the snow at Prior and Oakley Avenues in St. Paul on Tuesday. It marks the scene of a shooting that left 38-year-old Otis Elder dead on Jan. 10.
Tim Nelson | MPR News

Updated 4:15 p.m.

A 17-year-old is facing second-degree murder charges connected to a Jan. 10 fatal shooting in St. Paul. The investigation of that case led to the no-knock search warrant entry last week by Minneapolis police where an officer killed Amir Locke.

The 17-year-old charged Tuesday in the St. Paul shooting is Locke's cousin, documents say. He was arrested in Winona in southeastern Minnesota.

Prosecutors intend to file a petition to certify him to stand trial as an adult in the killing of Otis Elder, 38. MPR News is not naming the teen until that happens.

At a hearing Tuesday afternoon, Ramsey County Judge Stephen L. Smith ordered the teen detained, with a hearing set for Feb. 15. Smith ruled that teen a danger to public safety based on the juvenile petition.

Warrants connected to the Locke killing were set to be unsealed Tuesday. While Smith ordered Ramsey County search warrants to be unsealed, he said a Hennepin County judge would have to unseal and warrants there.

The initial footage of Wednesday’s fatal shooting of Locke inside a downtown apartment shows a SWAT team entering the apartment with a key, without knocking, shouting “police search warrant” several times as officers enter and then quickly approach a couch with a figure wrapped in a blanket.

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The video shows Locke, 22, apparently waking up as officers yell. He can be seen stirring from the blanket and then holding a gun as he starts to move just before he is shot, roughly nine seconds after the police enter.

Locke was not named in the warrant.

Amir Locke
Amir Locke
Courtesy of the Locke family via Jeff Storms

Locke’s parents and their attorneys on Friday slammed the actions of Minneapolis police seen on the body camera video as reckless and unwarranted. His parents said their son, a deep sleeper, was a law-abiding gun owner with no criminal history and a legal permit to carry.

Separately Tuesday, students across the Twin Cities marched to the governor’s mansion in St. Paul to demand justice for Locke. The group, led by the nonprofit MN Teen Activists, also called for a ban on all no-knock warrants and the resignation of the mayor of Minneapolis and the city's interim police chief.

MPR News reporter Nina Moini contributed to this report.