An 18-year-old drug dealer allegedly killed his client last week after the man robbed him at gunpoint during a marijuana deal gone wrong.
Darrion Isaiah Gresham, of St. Paul, was charged Monday in Ramsey County District Court with two counts of second-degree murder in the Jan. 21 shooting death of 42-year-old Larnell Brown.
Surveillance video shows Brown and an accomplice exiting Gresham’s parked BMW just before 4 p.m. As they walked north toward University Avenue, charges say, Gresham got out of the driver’s seat and squeezed off a flurry of shots in their direction, striking Brown in the back.
Brown’s friend returned fire. Before collapsing across the street, Brown passed off his firearm to another man nearby.
Metro Transit officers on patrol in the area saw a man firing down Arundel street at an unknown target. By the time authorities caught up with the men, Brown was laying on the sidewalk with an apparent gunshot wound.
He died a short time later at Regions Hospital, marking the third homicide of the year.
A third man was arrested later that evening, shortly after police say he ditched the handgun Brown gave him between two parked cars outside an Asian restaurant.
During an interview, Brown’s friend told investigators that they met Gresham that afternoon to purchase some marijuana, according to the criminal complaint. They hopped in his BMW and drove to a nearby liquor store on University Avenue and Arundel Street to make the deal.
But instead of paying him, each man pulled a gun, charges say, and took Gresham’s bagged weed, along with his car keys. A moment after they began walking away from the vehicle, Gresham began shooting.
Brown’s friend heard the shots and ran, before firing back in Gresham’s direction. Police later recovered two discarded firearms used in the dispute.
Witnesses identified Gresham, also known as Darrion Gresham Coats, as the BMW’s driver. Brown’s friend also picked him out of a photo lineup as the shooter. A cell number associated with him rang inside the BMW that police towed from the scene.
Gresham remains jailed in lieu of $1 million bail.
That troubled corner along the Green Line is the site of frequent police calls. Devon Lamont McClellan was killed in nearly the same spot outside Sunrise Grocery almost exactly a year earlier, prompting business owners to ask the city to install a security camera on the corner. That never happened.
Liz Sawyer • 612-673-4648