MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A 24-year-old St. Paul man faces murder charges for allegedly shooting a family member multiple times in the chest Wednesday in the midst of a struggle.
Chevaze Darrell Ward is charged with two counts of second degree murder in the death of 25-year-old Lamar Hale. The victim’s mother told police that the two are cousins, court documents say. She also said that the two had been arguing the day before the shooting, adding that her son said Ward had threatened to shoot him.
According to a criminal complaint, the shooting happened around noon Wednesday at the intersection of Arcade Street and Case Avenue. Witnesses said Hale fell to the ground near a silver four-door Buick, and a heavy-set man in shorts ran from the scene.
Police caught up with a man matching that description, and identified him as Ward. A police dog then used Ward’s scent to sniff out a gun, which had been stuffed inside of a tube sock and placed atop a nearby retaining wall.
Witnesses said that a group of men grabbed Hale immediately after the shooting and put the victim inside the Buick, which he’d been driving. Police learned the victim was taken to a fire station, and then firefighters brought him to Regions Hospital, where he later died. A provisional report on the cause of death showed that Hale suffered gunshot wounds to his heart and left lung.
When investigators found that silver Buick – which belonged to Hale’s mother – they spoke with family members who were gathered around it and who witnessed the shooting. They said that Ward and Hale had been in a fight over money, and that the shooting happened following an incident at a gas station. Hale had allegedly said “What’s up?” to Ward in a confrontational way.
Shortly later, Hale was behind the wheel of the Buick when he pulled up to a car in which Ward was riding with other family members. They said Hale got out of the Buick, walked over to the car Ward was in and tried to pull him from it. That’s when Ward allegedly pulled a gun from a sock and shot his cousin.
Police interviewed multiple family members who were in the car with Ward when the shooting happened, and their stories were consistent, the complaint states.
When police tried to talk to Ward, he asked for an attorney and remained silent.
If convicted, each murder charge carries a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison. Ward’s bail is currently set at $1 million, and his first court appearance is slated for Friday.
In 2008, the complaint says, Ward was convicted of selling and possessing drugs. He served prison time for those offences, and was only paroled in January.