Man murdered in West bank parking lot

Robert Koch

A man was shot early Wednesday morning on a sidewalk alongside a West bank parking lot. The victim, whose identity has not been released, died shortly afterward at the Hennepin County Medical Center.
Minneapolis police arrived at the public parking lot at South Third Street and 15th Avenue at 1 a.m. Upon arriving at the lot, which is located behind the Red Sea bar and restaurant, they found a male with an apparent gunshot wound.
One Cedar-Riverside neighborhood resident reported hearing an argument, followed by three or four gunshots. But another person said she heard nothing unusual, adding it would have been difficult to distinguish gunfire from fireworks during the Fourth of July holiday.
Tschaye Berhe, owner of the Red Sea, said he was bartending when his security staff alerted him of the shooting and began clearing out customers.
“I came out and I saw police officers all over,” Berhe said. “There were seven or eight police cars. They all came to the parking lot.”
Berhe said a disc jockey playing hip-hop and oldies attracted a sizeable crowd to the Red Sea on Tuesday evening, and still others were outside watching fireworks. But he added he didn’t know whether the victim or the suspects had come from the Red Sea.
“I can’t really point the finger at anyone,” Berhe said. “That parking lot is used by all the bars in the neighborhood.”
Nearby Palmer’s Bar, however, was closed, and the parking lot, which otherwise operates as pre-pay between 6 and 11 p.m., was unattended on the Fourth of July.
Mahad Bashir, a lot cashier who had the holiday off, said he was not surprised to hear about the shooting.
“Every time when there’s a holiday, or every Friday, every Saturday, there are so many people down here,” Bashir said. “Some of them are young.”
A makeshift memorial now lies on the sidewalk where the shooting occurred. Lying on the ground are cut flowers, including a half dozen red roses. Beneath the flowers is a mysterious Polaroid photograph, which shows an automobile parked before the memorial.
A note written on the photograph appears to read: “R.I.P. Big Roy. Love, Mikie.”
Police continued Thursday to search for suspects in Wednesday’s shooting, which represents Minneapolis’ 23rd homicide this year.

Robert Koch covers police and courts and welcomes comments at [email protected]