MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — On a beautifully warm fall day, a sad darkness grips a boulevard tree. It’s a somber memorial to a young man and an innocent baby.
“I’m kind of lost for words right now, because I’m still hurting inside,” said Dallas Thompson, older brother of one of the victims.
Nineteen-year-old Gustav Christianson was sitting in the back seat of a Dodge Stratus parked outside a home near 11th Avenue and East 26th Street around 1:30 Sunday afternoon. Seated next to Christianson was his girlfriend’s 8-month-old baby boy, Jayden Eric Redden.
Suddenly, bullets tore through the vehicle’s rear window, killing both of them. They were parked outside a home just a block east of Abbott Northwestern hospital. Christianson died instantly – the baby was shot through the chest and died in surgery at the nearby Children’s Hospital a short time later.
“It’s totally cowardly,” Thompson said. “Who would shoot a defenseless person and a child in the back seat? It’s just not right you know.”
On Monday, family members gathered at the spot to grieve and speak out. Reflecting back on the life of their baby brother, a young man who’d served time for a felony assault, but was now working to get his life back on track.
“I felt good when he got out. He wanted to work and he was a good worker — I was just trying to put him on the right path,” Thompson said about his younger brother.
Family members say their brother had been in a Native American gang prior to spending 40 months in prison for the assault. However, they believe he had left the gang months ago as a condition of his probation.
Police are continuing to interview witnesses and say the killing was not random — suggesting a strong link to retaliation.
“Everybody has their ups and downs you know, everybody ain’t perfect, but nobody deserves to be killed out here in the streets, especially a 6-month-old baby,” brother Gomer Thompson said.
Homicide detectives ask anyone who saw anything suspicious in the neighborhood Sunday afternoon, like a car or bicycle speeding away, to contact Minneapolis Police.