MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Charges have been filed against a 24-year-old Richfield man police say was responsible for the first homicide in the city of Minneapolis this year.
Police responded to a shooting at about 9:15 p.m. on Jan. 23 on the 4400 block of 1st Avenue South. When authorities arrived, they learned a man had been limping in the area from a gunshot wound but they couldn’t locate him.
A short time later, the Minnesota State Patrol found the victim with a wound to his lower leg. He was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center. He died three days later from complications.
The Hennepin County Medical Examiner identified the victim as 61-year-old Darnell Cleveland Harris. Police say that while he was slipping in and out of consciousness, he told them that Brandon Deandre Bell had shot him.
Investigators examined surveillance video and saw two cars pull up alongside one another. A man police believe to have been Bell got out of one of the cars and shot into the second one before driving away.
On Sunday, homicide investigators arrested Brandon Bell in connection to the shooting. Bell admitted to police that he intended to rob Harris of drugs and money. Bell said he had been buying marijuana from Harris.
Bell tried to tell police that the gun was Harris’s and it went off automatically when Harris pulled the gun out during the incident, the complaint says. When the surveillance video was introduced, Bell said that he slipped on some ice, which caused the gun to go off.
“The only lesson to be learned from this tragedy is that once a bullet is fired, there is no telling what damage it will do,” Freeman said. “At first, this looked like it would be a minor injury and we would charge some sort of an aggravated assault. But the leg wound killed Mr. Harris and we are now charging a murder and will pursue it aggressively.”
Bell is currently being held at the Hennepin County Adult Detention Center.