MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) Police say they have identified four suspects after a shooting between two cars on the streets of downtown Minneapolis ended in a crash that killed an innocent woman Wednesday night.
While police initially said four men had been arrested, a spokesman for the department later told WCCO that they have only identified suspects and no one has been remanded in custody.
Police received a call just after noon. 23 about several shots that came from the 1800 block of Nicollet Avenue. There were reports of two cars driving side by side and shooting at each other. Several men occupied each car.
John Giamattei and his wife, Nancy, were in their hotel room in the North Loop on Wednesday night when they thought they heard fireworks.
“It was only when I saw smoke and all the fire and police and all that,” Nancy Giamattei said.
Police believe the vehicles made their way to the intersection of Fifth Street and Sixth Avenue in the North Loop, near Target Field. The two cars collided and one of them hit a woman riding a scooter on the sidewalk. Police said she was an innocent bystander. She died on the spot.
Family and friends identified her as 18-year-old Autumn Merrick.
“It is my understanding that the woman on the scooter did exactly what she was doing on a scooter driving down the sidewalk and she was an innocent spectator to what appears to be a violent exchange between cars,” he said. police spokesman Garrett Parten. “To that extent, I can tell you that this kind of death, it affects our officers. It is disturbing to see this kind of violence result in this kind of death. ”
WCCO spoke Thursday with Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey near the stage.
“My heart breaks for her whole family. This is tragic, it’s a child who was just trying to spend the night in the city and go home safely. That is unacceptable. When you commit that kind of violence, you are not just hurting the person you are shooting at. It ends up being a plague throughout our city, ”Frey said.
Frey says more police are needed.
“They need to be more, yes, deterrent in many of these cases so that people who would otherwise engage in some of these violent activities do not do so because they know they will be caught.”
Steve Cramer, president of the Minneapolis Downtown Council, agrees with the mayor.
“We need to have adequate police and law enforcement resources to hold people who behave that way accountable,” Cramer said.
Jay Ettinger, who owns The Pourhouse Downtown, says he thinks it will require the city council to be turned around to make the city safer, along with getting violent criminals off the streets. Otherwise, he believes it will get worse.
“Honestly, I think people will leave,” he said.
Several residents told WCCO they are thinking of not renewing their lease or moving out of the North Loop because of the crime.
Police are asking everyone with information to come forward. Four men involved in the shooting and crash were hospitalized with serious injuries. Police found weapons from both cars at the scene.
Merrick’s death has been condemned as a homicide, making it the city’s 74th homicide of the year.
Friends and family remember the fall Merrick
Strangers left flowers on the spot Thursday while police appeared to gather evidence and crews cleaned up the clutter left behind. Anna Luster came to say goodbye to her great niece.
“It’s not fair. It’s not fair,” said Luster. “My grandson called me hysterically crying. I said, ‘Trevon, what’s wrong?’ He said, ‘Autumn is gone.’ Her and my granddaughter are both the same age … they just finished high school. ”
Yisela Ortega, Merrick’s friend, said she had a hard time processing that her friend is gone.
“She did not deserve this,” Ortega said. “She was a light everywhere she went. It was my sister. ”
Ortega said Merrick was full of life and always willing to help others.
“Every time we would hang out, if you were ever sad or anything, she would just lift the mood,” Ortega said.
The 18-year-old had big plans and was preparing to move from his mother’s place and into his own apartment. She was also thinking about making a leap to a new job.
“You hear all this in the news and you never think it’s going to hit close to home, and when it does, it does not feel right,” Ortega said.
Merrick’s family did not want to share a photograph of her, asking for privacy while trying to make sense of the incident that took her young life.