The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office has announced that a murder charge has been filed in the shooting death of 21-year-old Enzo Herrera Garcia in downtown Minneapolis on Saturday evening.
Just before 10:30 p.m. on Saturday officers reported a shooting near the intersection of 8th Street and Hennepin Avenue and that the suspects had gotten into a vehicle and fled the scene, according to an online police scanner report.
According to the criminal complaint, Herrera Garcia and his girlfriend were walking on Hennepin near 8th when they were approached by a vehicle driven by Varnell David Allen. The vehicle occupants yelled something out the window and Herrera Garcia yelled back.
Allen stopped the car and he and his passenger got out of the car and Allen was holding a handgun. The two men started fighting with Herrera Garcia and Allen pistol whipped him and the sound of the gun hitting his skull was audible on the video, the complaint states.
During the assault, Allen dropped his gun, picked it up and fired one shot that struck the victim in the chest. As the two men drove off, a witness recorded the license plate number. The complaint states that the incident was captured on at least two different cameras in the area: a city camera and a personal cell phone belonging to a person who was in the area.
The car’s registration led police to the 4500 block of Aldrich Avenue South. The next day, Sunday, police saw the car and watched it until Allen came out, got in the car, drove a few miles before he was stopped by officers and arrested.
Allen, 23, has been charged with one count of felony second-degree murder with intent but not premeditated and is being held in Hennepin County Jail on $1 million bail/bond. He is scheduled to make his initial court appearance on Wednesday afternoon.
This homicide is just the latest in a string of violent incidents being reported in downtown Minneapolis, including other murders and reports of a sharp increase in robberies. Some of the recent incidents like the brutal “pack” assaults downtown which were captured on video have received national attention.
Local sports team leaders recently went so far as to submit an op/ed to the Star Tribune expressing concern that downtown isn’t as safe as it once was and called to city leaders for a stronger police presence. Meanwhile, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has remained relatively silent on the spike in reports of downtown violence while at the same time ruffling feathers with some city residents and within the police department in his recent comments over the upcoming downtown Trump rally scheduled for Oct. 10.
The mayor’s 2020 budget has called for funding 14 additional officers, eight of them walking beats, but that number is a far cry from the 400 officers requested by the police chief to be in place by 2025.
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