MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A husband, wife and their 16-year-old son have been charged in the fatal shooting of a 16-year-old boy at a south metro Target parking lot last Friday.
Taran Miller, 44, Tanya Miller, 43, and their son were named as the suspects in Scott County Court documents on Thursday.
Taran and his son allegedly admitted to driving to St. Paul to buy pot and then sell it to a 16-year-old Savage boy, before shooting him in the head in a drug deal gone wrong.
Police officers responded to reports of a male bleeding from his head at about 7:30 p.m. in the 14000 block of State Highway 13. They found a male with a “large wound to his head,” who was semi-conscious and breathing.
Law enforcement says when they arrived the victim’s face was covered in blood, “but he was awake, and able to say his name and that his head hurt.”
The incident was captured on the surveillance cameras of businesses in the area, and two witnesses from the Target parking lot reported hearing a “pop.” One saw something on the ground, and eventually noticed that it was a person.
The victim was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center and placed on life support. He died the next day because of his injuries. An autopsy found that the bullet “entered his skull above the right ear and exited above the left eyebrow.”
Over the course of the investigation, police officers learned that the victim had been communicating via Snapchat earlier in the day in an effort to purchase marijuana.
Two parties met in the parking lot of a Target store for the transaction. According to court documents, the victim got into the car with Miller, but would not close the car door fully despite repeatedly being told to.
In a post-Miranda rights statement, police say Miller told police “he thought the victim was going to take the weed and run out of the car without paying, so he shot the victim in the head,” with a .380 handgun.
It’s unclear whether the victim fell out of the door or was pushed from the car. Miller says afterwards he called his wife and told her he had shot the victim, before getting rid of the bullet casing in the vehicle and parking the vehicle used in the shooting in a neighbor’s garage “to avoid detection.”
The Millers then drove to Mankato to leave the gun with a sister-in-law in a black lockbox at her home. The weapon has since been recovered after police served a search warrant at the residence.
Taran and his son have each been charged with second-degree murder, while Tanya is charged with aiding an offender. All three Millers are now in the custody of the Scott County Sheriff’s Department.