A 44-year-old man fatally shot a teenager in a Target parking lot in Savage because he believed he was going to take marijuana without paying during a drug deal involving his son, and his wife is charged with helping to hide the crime, according to charges filed Thursday.
Taran Cortez Miller, of Prior Lake, and his 16-year-old son are charged with second-degree murder, while TanyaMarie Miller, 43, is charged with aiding an offender after the fact in connection with the death of Samuel A. Keezer, 16, of Burnsville.
According to charges filed in Scott County District Court:
Police arrived at the Target and found Keezer on the pavement covered in blood. He was conscious and said his head hurt.
Paramedics determined he was shot in the head and took him to HCMC, where he was placed on life support and died.
Police spoke with witnesses and pulled surveillance video, which showed Keezer getting out of one vehicle and into another. That vehicle was seen leaving the parking lot before Keezer fell or was pushed out.
Police learned that Keezer had been communicating with another juvenile over Snapchat to buy marijuana, and the two agreed to meet in the Target lot.
Someone with Keezer that day told police he planned to take the marijuana without paying and was able to describe the vehicle Keezer got into when he was shot. Police learned it matched a general description of one owned by the Millers, and officers began preparing a search warrant for the family's home and garages.
Before the searches, they saw the Millers' son running with a purse in an area near his house. He was arrested and taken to the Savage Police Department for questioning. There, he told police he uses Snapchat to sell marijuana, and that Keezer contacted him to buy some.
The teen went with his father to buy marijuana to sell to Keezer, who then failed to show up at various places where they had agreed to meet. Keezer contacted them again, asking to meet at Target.
The Miller teen then said "his dad asked him to go inside their house and go get his gun," the complaint read, before they drove to Target to meet Keezer.
When Keezer got in the front seat, he refused to close the door and kept smelling and handling the marijuana. Taran Miller then shot Keezer in the head and pushed him out of the vehicle.
Under questioning, Taran Miller said he carried the .380-caliber handgun for protection and that he had done other drug deals with his son.
He got rid of the bullet casing in the vehicle and went with his wife to give the gun to his sister-in-law in Mankato. Police searched the home and found the gun. The Millers and their son remain in custody.