MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Police are investigating a second crime possibly connected to a fatal shooting in north Minneapolis.
Authorities say someone fired into a crowd of kids playing at the corner of 17th and Morgan avenues on Saturday night, killing 14-year-old Quantell Braxton.
Friends and family spent hours mourning at the site of Braxton’s death Sunday night, where they put together a makeshift memorial in his honor. When they returned Monday morning, all they found was a charred mess.
Kasey Hornsby is appalled that the memorial set up to remember Braxton went up in flames.
According to Minneapolis police, firefighters were called to the area late Sunday night. The fire was raging when they arrived, burning a pole and parts of the sign that hangs on it.
The fire was put out and now investigators are trying to figure out if candles from the memorial started it or if the fire was intentionally set.
“How do you start to heal when you keep getting interrupted with more hurt and pain?” said VJ Smith, of MAD DADS.
Friends of Braxton believe the fire was set on purpose.
“Where do these ignorant people come from? That’s what goes through my mind,” Hornsby said. “I just don’t understand the logic behind it. What could he do to you now? Why would you disrespect his name and his life in this way?”
Hornsby’s sons were with Quantell, or Q, the night he was killed.
“I left out about 10:45. The boys were in the house doing what they usually do, playing, and I guess some girls were over by the house and they decided to go throw water on the girls and chase the girls around,” she said. “That’s how they ended up out the house.”
The teens say they were just playing when bullets began to fly. So they ran, trying to get away. Hornsby says her son, Q’s best friend, was the first to see him fall.
“When he fell, he felt Q falling and he just thought he had fell. He thought he was coming behind him and when he turned around and looked, he realized he was down he wanted to go back and grab him but he said, ‘No, we have to wait until the gun shots stop,” Hornsby said.
The teens say the gunshots came from on top of a hill in North Commons Park. Hornsby and many of the teens that were with Braxton Saturday say they will rebuild the memorial.
Lisa Jackson lives nearby and says if the fire was intentional then it was a heartless act.
“It’s enough that a woman lost her 14-year-old child,” Jackson said. “And then someone comes along and vandalizes it. I mean, they already took her child’s life, what more do they want?”
Minneapolis police are looking for the public’s help to solve this crime. If you know anything, give police a call.