KSTP's report earlier today that someone was shot in South Minneapolis over graffiti had every TV news outlet in town scampering to cover the story. And, yeah, we were there, too, but only because KSTP's hovering helicopter made it impossible to work. The thing is, it wasn't until I walked up to the taped-off crime scene at 34th Street and 20th Avenue that it was released that the 19-year-old victim died at the Hennepin County Medical Center after arriving with a friend at about 10:15 this morning. The person who killed him, and likely lived in or was staying at the home that got tagged, is still at large. So every news channel in town was there based only on the information that someone was shot and had driven himself to the hospital. When we arrived, the SWAT team, homicide detective Lt. Lee Edwards, council member Gary Schiff, and at least 10 cop cars were on the scene. And so were at least four satellite vans and reporters from KARE, FOX, WCCO, UPN, and KSTP.
Since no one was talking to the press until about an hour ago, everyone was clamoring to get shots of the graffiti scrawled in red paint on the side of the house, which red "Fuck Scraps/18 XIV." The police wouldn't let anyone behind the yellow tape to get a good shot of the graffiti, which made one cameraman grit his teeth and grow a bead of sweat on his forehead. The spray painted message is confusing: The number 13 is used as a Surenos gang tag all over South Minneapolis. Their known rival gang uses the XIV tag. But this tag also included what looked to be the number "18." No one on the scene, cops or SWAT officers speaking anonymously, or Gary Schiff, who told the Strib he heard it stemmed from gang violence, believe it was a murder over only graffiti, but the news was quick to report it as such. As one of the local TV news folks admitted: "It is sweeps week."
Update: At 17th Avenue and 28th Street at about 5:45 tonight, a 17-year-old was arrested in connection with the murder. Corcoran neighborhood residents learned of the arrest at a meeting tonight, where third precinct officer Dan Roen had to excuse himeslf early because he just learned that another murder had occurred in North Minneapolis. And where was the TV news? At the Corcoran neighborhood meeting.