Originally published Jan. 3, 2022

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — A 49-year-old man is charged with murder for allegedly shooting a man last week outside a St. Paul liquor store in the city’s North End neighborhood.

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Trinis Edwards, of St. Paul, is charged with two counts of second-degree murder in the Dec. 27 shooting outside Big Discount Liquors, court documents filed Monday in Ramsey County show. Last week, police identified the victim as 44-year-old Kenneth Davis Jr.

According to a criminal complaint, Edwards shot Davis after a dispute in the liquor store. A store employee told investigators that Davis, a loyal customer, tried to stop Edwards from stealing a $12 bottle of Taaka vodka and flashed a handgun, telling Edwards that he had a license to carry.

A fight ensued and the tussle led both men outside. At one point, Davis lost control of his gun and it fell to the ground. Edwards picked it up and shot Davis twice in the chest. Davis died early the next morning at Regions Hospital.

Davis’s daughter, Keyira, says she worried about her father spending much of his time on Rice Street in St. Paul, and at the Big Discount Liquor, where employees remember Davis as a regular who loved to joke around.

“It still doesn’t feel real to me,” Keyira said. “Every day I wake up, and like for a split moment I’m OK and everything’s normal, but then it like hits me.”

Kenneth Davis Jr. (credit: CBS)

Davis leaves behind 18 kids, as well as grandchildren. Keyira says he had been putting renewed effort into being there for his family.

“Since he got out in the summertime, we were together, I saw him every day,” she said. “We bonded more, I feel like he got closer with his kids the second time around and I appreciated that, cuz he was like trying for his kids and I loved that about him.”

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A memorial has been created in the parking lot where Davis was shot.

“Every time I see it, like I get super sad and depressed,” Keyira said. “Knowing this one is for him, like it really, really hits different, because it wasn’t his time to go.”

Surveillance video captured the shooting. Officers used it to trace Edwards to a Motel 6 in St. Paul, where Edwards was staying with his girlfriend. Edwards barricaded himself in the bathroom but officers eventually convinced him to give himself up, the complaint states.

Trinis Edwards (credit: St. Paul Police)

Investigators showed surveillance images to his girlfriend and she identified him as the shooter. She said he was wearing a blue headband, which she recognized, and she noted the gap in his front teeth due to a missing tooth.

The girlfriend told investigators that Edwards confessed to shooting a man outside the liquor store, saying that it was in self-defense, the complaint states. He allegedly spoke to her about not wanting to go back to prison and instead wanting to die via suicide by cop.

According to prosecutors, Edwards has a long criminal history with convictions dating back to 1991.

This fatal shooting marked the 36th homicide in St. Paul last year. After Davis’ death, two more homicides were added to the capital city’s tally, which set the all-time record at for homicides in a given year.

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David Schuman