Jurors have convicted a 28-year-old man of murder for shooting a woman outside Merwin Liquors at Broadway and Lyndale in Minneapolis nearly a year a half ago.
Deandre W.L. Craig, of Brooklyn Center, was found guilty Monday in Hennepin County District Court of second-degree murder, first-degree assault and illegal possession of a gun in connection with the June 7, 2021, death of Samantha J. Taylor, 39, of Minneapolis. Taylor was shot shortly before 6:30 p.m. and died outside the liquor store.
A 21-year-old man also was shot in the incident but survived.
Sentencing for Craig is scheduled for Jan. 19.
According to the criminal complaint:
Surveillance video from nearby businesses showed Craig appearing to sell marijuana in front of nearby Sanctuary Covenant Church. The 21-year-old man and a 20-year-old man approached Craig, soon followed by Taylor. She accused Craig of stealing something earlier.
The 21-year-old pointed a gun at Craig, who was soon surrounded by numerous people and then struck with a gun. A shot went off as several people struggled.
The fight soon broke up, and Craig "is seen backing away from the area and has the opportunity to leave," the complaint said. However, he reappeared and shot Taylor in the head and then fired at the 21-year-old man, hitting him in the shoulder and elsewhere.
Court records show that Craig was convicted in 2015 of first-degree assault and sentenced to more than seven years for shooting a man in Minneapolis.
The intersection where the liquor store is located has long resembled an open-air drug bazaar, and where prostitution and gun violence have persisted.
Last month, the Minnesota Attorney General's Office declared Merwin Liquors and neighboring Winner Gas Station as nuisance properties, and notified the businesses that they were subject to being sued if they failed to adequately address the ongoing crime. The Attorney General's Office said Tuesday that it has yet to sue either business as its investigation continues.
The notices documented from Jan. 1 through early October of this year 14 instances at Merwin Liquors and 22 at Winner Gas Station of shots fired, people injured, weapons possession, and drug dealing and possession. These include at least three large-scale shootings in September.