Early Thursday morning just before 5 a.m., 52-year-old James Salter was walking down Lake Street, minding his own business, when he was hit in the chest and neck with a shotgun blast.
When police found him, he was lying cold in the street.
A witness who’d watched Salter’s murder unfold told cops that a group of men had driven up to Salter, fired off a single shot, then hurried off. Street surveillance video gave cops leads on the identities of the car’s three occupants.
According to charges filed Monday, 50-year-old John Davis of Minneapolis was the driver. Riding with him were 21-year-old Marshawn Winston of St. Paul and 18-year-old Mashawn Moore, the alleged shooter. There was a woman in the car as well, but she had the sense to get out before the murder.
The idea, according to investigators, was to rob a guy who’d crossed Davis and Winston in the past. When they couldn’t find that guy, charges say the men decided to rob Salter instead, just because he was there.
Moore, the youngest, got out of the car with the shotgun, ordered Salter to hand over all his money, and then fired because Salter was moving too slowly, according to cops. When Moore tried to return to the car, Davis shooed him back out to search the dying man’s pockets for money.
Then the three drove off to McDonald’s.
Officers found the woman who had been riding with Davis, Winston, and Moore prior to the botched robbery. She said the men suspected that Salter may have had drugs, and planned on robbing him with “that thing” in the trunk. That’s when she got out of the car. Shortly after, she heard a loud boom, saw Salter had been shot, and figured her friends had something to do with it.
Cops picked up Davis and Winston, who talked. Then they rounded up Moore, who’d been hiding out in a motel in the suburbs of Minneapolis.
All three men are charged with second-degree non-premeditated murder, which comes with a maximum sentence of 40 years. Bail is set at $1 million.