ST. PAUL (WCCO) — A 26-year-old Minneapolis man has been charged with shooting at two people – killing one – during an attempted drug deal in St. Paul, according to police.
At 10:45 p.m. on June 2, 2012, St. Paul Police responded to a report of multiple shots fired near 300 Ruth Street. Upon arrival, witnesses reported a maroon sedan left the area shortly after the shots. Witnesses also said a man ran to a waiting Cadillac with fancy rims and entered the passenger side of the vehicle, which also left the scene.
Shortly after the initial call, dispatch reported to police that Marcelis Lamar Stafford had died soon after arriving to Regions Hospital with a gunshot wound to the chest. Stafford’s phone was discovered at the scene.
Stafford had been driven to the hospital in the maroon sedan by a female driver and Stafford’s brother.
According to the criminal complaint, the female driver told police that she had agreed to give Stafford a ride to go meet someone. She drove while Stafford’s brother sat in the passenger seat. Stafford, who was on the phone with the person he was supposed to meet, lead the group to an apartment complex near the scene of the shooting. There, a man, later identified as Durron Brown, approached the car, entered and sat next to Stafford. Brown told them to drive around back because “his girl was tripping and might call the cops.” The female driver followed the directions and parked in back behind some dumpsters.
Then, Brown allegedly started to get out of the car while saying, “this is a robbery” as he reached into his pocket. Stafford’s brother told police that his brother and Brown were arguing before Brown jumped out of the car. When Stafford grabbed at Brown’s hands, Stafford’s brother heard shots and Stafford said that he was hit. Stafford’s brother then jumped out of the car and ran after Brown, who turned around and fired several shots at him. None of the shots hit Stafford’s brother.
Investigators later interviewed the mother of Stafford’s children, who confirmed that Stafford had agreed to sell a quarter pound of marijuana for $1,350 to an unknown man. She said she believed that the man robbed Stafford of the pot and that it was a set-up from the start.
Investigators were able to use Stafford’s phone to determine the identity of the suspect as Durron Brown, who matched the physical description of witnesses at the scene of the crime, according to the complaint.
After obtaining a search warrant, investigators searched Brown’s house on the 3700 block of Fremont Avenue North in Minneapolis. There, Brown was arrested and police recovered a digital scale, numerous cell phones, $2,000 in cash, suspected marijuana and a .45-caliber handgun found under the deck wrapped in plastic bags.
In a post-Miranda interview, Brown denied involvement in the shooting or familiarity with the area of the shooting. However, police said Brown has been associated with a man who regularly drives a vehicle matching the description of the vehicle seen fleeing the area. Also, Brown had been stopped by police in 2011 near the area of the shooting – with the person who owns the suspected vehicle.
Brown has been charged with second-degree murder and second-degree attempted murder, which are both felonies.
If convicted, Brown could face a potential maximum sentence of 40 years in prison for the murder charge and 20 years for the attempted murder charge.