Police on Monday arrested a suspect they say shot and killed a man during an altercation at a south Minneapolis apartment building over the weekend.
Neighbors said the victim was mortally wounded about 4 p.m. Sunday during a confrontation inside or just outside a basement apartment in the 1900 block of S. 1st Avenue, where the mother of his child lives.
Authorities haven't released the victim's name, but a friend identified him as Isiah "Philly" Smith, of Minneapolis. Cynthia Young said she first got to know Smith by watching his performances downtown as part of a bucket drumming troupe — called the Bucket Boys — that for years entertained crowds leaving Twins and Timberwolves games. She said she always felt better when she was around him.
"He was full of energy, always smiled — just knew how to bring joy to people's lives," she said, adding that she knew Smith to be a devoted father to his young son, who uses a wheelchair. "A few times I was going through some things, but him playing buckets always made my day better."
Police arrested a 38-year-old suspect on Monday, according to department spokesman John Elder. Online records show the suspect was booked into the Hennepin County jail Monday afternoon, where he was held without bail on suspicion of murder.
Elder wouldn't comment on whether security cameras in the area captured video of the suspect entering or leaving the building.
One of the cameras looks down on the building's front entrance. And signs posted on the three nearly identical, multistory, brown brick buildings that cover half the block warn that the area is under 24-hour surveillance.
The death was the city's 23rd homicide of the year, capping a bloody week that saw four slayings across Minneapolis over seven days.
The building where the shooting occurred sits on a mostly residential block in the Stevens Square neighborhood, just south of downtown. A police substation is housed in a building across the street, but Elder said that it usually isn't staffed on weekends.
Neighbors said problems at the building date back well before the homicide, with some noticing more and more vandalism and burglaries in recent months.
According to police radio transmissions posted online, the woman who lives in the apartment called 911 to report that she had come home to find her ex-boyfriend had been shot, but no other details were aired by dispatchers. Officers found him in a commons area of the building.
No one answered the door when a reporter visited the apartment Monday morning.
Neighbor Joe Irving said that he had been visiting with his mother Sunday afternoon and had stepped outside when he heard a muffled sound coming from the basement apartment, which he later realized must have been a gunshot. Soon, the area was filled with police officers and paramedics, he said.
"It just happened so fast," Irving said.
Irving said that he and the victim started hanging out a few months ago, bonding over their shared Illinois roots. The two had been partying downtown with friends on the night before the homicide, he said.
"He was a real good person," Irving said. "Anybody else that knew him, they would tell you the same thing I'm telling you."
Libor Jany • 612-673-4064 Twitter:@StribJany