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Devon Parker killed north Mpls Good Samaritan with his own gun, charges say

Devon Parker killed north Mpls Good Samaritan with his own gun, charges say
Devon Parker (left); Thomas Sonnenberg (right).

Devon Parker, 20, has been charged with second-degree murder for allegedly killing a 69-year-old north Minneapolis homeowner with his own gun.

Just before noon Friday, Parker allegedly knocked on Thomas Sonnenberg's door at 3739 Aldrich Avenue North. Sonnenberg's wife later described Parker as "frantic, paranoid, and in some sort of distress" when he arrived, but Thomas Sonnenberg let him in the house nonetheless.

Sonnenberg then called police and said a man "came to his door seeking refuge [from] people chasing him with a bat," the charges say.

But when police arrived, they looked through a window and saw Sonnenberg slumped over in a kitchen chair. He "appeared deceased." As the officer tried to kick the door in, Sonnenberg's wife approached. Parker trailed behind her, but he hit the floor and was arrested after an officer drew his gun on him.

Thomas Sonnenberg was dead from a single gunshot wound to the head. He was wearing a gun holster but didn't have a gun on him.

Sonnenberg's wife later told police that after Parker entered their home, she heard him ask her husband "for a gun, a knife, a hat and gloves." She then heard a gunshot but didn't witness the chain of events that culminated in her husband getting shot.

The charges allege Parker roughed up Sonnenberg's wife after the shooting, including putting a gun to her head. But when police arrived, he let her walk back downstairs and toward them.

Sonnenberg's wife said the gun Parker used during the incident was a Smith and Wesson revolver her husband normally carried on his hip. It was later found upstairs underneath a bed.

Asked about Parker's motives, Minneapolis Police Department spokesman John Elder told us "the only person who has that information is Mr. Parker, and he's not talking."

But all indications are it was a botched robbery, Elder added.

"It doesn't make sense that he would just go in there and kill the guy," Elder said. "We lack any indication this was about anything else."

Parker's criminal record includes convictions for third-degree assault, trespassing, and drug offenses.

The incident was Minneapolis's second homicide of the year. Click here to read our report about the first.

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at arupar@citypages.com.


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