A 28-year-old man with a history of violence and mental illness likely strangled or suffocated his 7-year-old brother before he surrendered outside the family's Eden Prairie home, according to court records filed Thursday.
Officers were called about 10 p.m. Tuesday to the family's house in the 9900 block of Lee Drive for a welfare check on the man they believed to be in crisis, police said in a statement.
While checking on other residents in the house, officers found the boy unresponsive, police said. The child was taken to M Health Fairview Southdale Hospital in Edina, where he was pronounced dead shortly after midnight on Wednesday.
The man was arrested on suspicion of second-degree murder. He was taken to the Hennepin County jail following a brief hospital visit and remained in custody without bail pending charges, police said. The Star Tribune generally does not identify suspects before they are charged.
The Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office on Thursday identified the boy as Abdullahi Gelle.
While the Examiner's Office added that the cause and manner of Abdullahi's death are pending further investigation, police gave a strong indication of how the boy died in a search warrant affidavit filed in District Court asking for permission to test the suspect's blood for illicit drug use.
Officers in the home "observed that [the boy's] eyes were red," the filing read. "Officers also observed that [he] had what appeared to be petechiae around his eyes," which are tiny spots of bleeding under the skin.
"The presence of petechial hemorrhages on a victim's eyes or around the eyes is presumptive evidence of strangulation or suffocation," the filing continued. "There is probable cause to believe that [the suspect] killed [Abdullahi] by strangulation and/or suffocation."
The filing also disclosed:
The man called 911 and said he's been hearing voices, hallucinating and not taking his medications as prescribed. He added that he was afraid because he "just did something" to someone else.
Officers met the man outside the home, where he raised his hands and said he wanted to surrender. Police asked him whether he hurt anyone, and he said he didn't know. Emergency medical personnel then took him to a hospital for a mental health evaluation.
Police learned from an adult sister that the man and three children were the only people who should have been in the home. Officers went upstairs and saw two children unharmed and sleeping. They then located Abdullahi in a small bed. He showed no signs of life.
Court records show the suspect is the brother of 23-year-old Dolal Idd, who was shot to death in December 2020 at a south Minneapolis gas station by police during a sting operation.
The Dakota County Attorney's Office later said the officers were justified in shooting Idd because he disobeyed police orders and fired at them first in the parking lot of a Holiday gas station at 36th Street and Cedar Avenue.
At the time of the boy's death this week, the suspect was under supervision with the Hennepin County Department of Community Corrections stemming from his conviction in 2015 for first-degree assault and burglary for the robbery of a Life Time fitness member in an Eden Prairie locker room. It left the man badly beaten.
He unleashed a similar attack on a resident in a randomly chosen home in the city about an hour later. Both crimes occurred while he was under the influence of methamphetamine, court documents revealed.
He was given an 8½-year sentence, left prison in late 2022 and put on supervised release.
Court records reveal the suspect has suffered from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. He has been under court-ordered civil commitment in the past and was under the guardianship of his sister from early 2020 until January, the records disclosed.
While searching the home Wednesday, officers located journals, notes and other documents belonging to the man that indicated he has struggled with substance abuse and listed "stay sober" as his top priority to promote his mental health.