Christopher James Hayes, caught via ShotSpotter, convicted of killing Christopher Roy DeRonde

When the shots rang out last Sept. 17 near the the corner of North 30th Avenue and North Colfax Avenue, a security camera called a ShotSpotter mounted on a utility pole swiveled around toward the noise and started recording the scene.

Part of what it captured was a Dodge Intrepid carrying Michael James Funches and Christopher James Hayes driving away from the scene of Christopher DeRonde's murder.

Hayes, 23, of Brooklyn Park, has now been found guilty of killing DeRonde, and Minneapolis police are claiming their first closed homicide case based on key evidence collected by the hi-tech surveillance tool.

We discovered that ShotSpotter describes Minneapolis as a successful case study in promotional materials for its products. [Download.]

"You fire a gun in MInneapolis, and we're going to hear it and come after you," Lt. Greg Reinhardt told members of the City Council's Public Safety and Regulatory Services Committee during a meeting in June of 2006. Reinhardt, an 18 year veteran of the Minneapolis Police Department, said, "That's the message we're going to put out."

The Dodge was traced to Funches' girlfriend. He told police he'd driven her to work that day, and then spent the morning cruising around town with friends and relatives, including Hayes. Police were able to place the car at the scene of the shooting because a child's car seat belonging to Funches' girlfriend was found on the ground near where DeRonde had staggered out of the car, fatally wounded.

A witness put Hayes in the driver's seat of the Intrepid. Right before the shot rang out, he was seen turned around and pointing a gun at DeRonde, who was sitting in the back seat, next to Funches.

A jury convicted Hayes yesterday of first-degree murder. He'll spend the rest of his life behind bars.


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