A Minneapolis man was charged with murder Thursday in the robbery and fatal shooting of a 22-year-old St. Paul man walking home from work last week.
Arteze Owen Kinerd, 20, was charged with second-degree intentional murder in connection with the death of Alex Becker, who was shot multiple times shortly before midnight Dec. 27 in an alley behind his home in the 500 block of Lawson Avenue W.
Becker's family said he was robbed of his cellphone and cash before being killed in what was the city's 40th homicide of the year.
"Alex was an amazing person. Our lives will forever be changed by this," his mother, Tara Becker, said in response to news of Kinerd's charge. "[I am] very thankful for the hard work by the St. Paul Police Department. The outpouring of love the community has shown for Alex has been as much of a comfort as we could have during this time."
Kinerd made his first court appearance Thursday, and bail was set at $2 million. Two other men believed to have been involved in the killing remain at large.
"Investigators are working on identifying everyone who was present at the shooting of Alex Becker and hopefully determine what role they played in his homicide," police Sgt. Mike Ernster said.
According to the criminal complaint:
Police determined that Becker had punched out of his workplace at 11:15 p.m. and began walking home.At 11:51 p.m. surveillance video showed a black car drive past him.
Several seconds later, men with distinct clothing descriptions could be seen on the video running down the alley Becker had just entered, and surveillance also captured the sound of eight gunshots before two of the men ran away.
On Monday, police found the car, a stolen Toyota Camry, in north Minneapolis and noted that it was three blocks from an apartment in the 2500 block of Penn Avenue N., where a cellphone taken from a recent robbery had pinged. There, police identified Kinerd as being in an apartment surveillance video about the time the phone pinged to the building.
Police then learned that three men wearing clothes that matched from the night of Becker's killing left the Penn Avenue apartment at 10:14 p.m. that night and returned around 12:27 a.m.
On Tuesday, police spotted Kinerd in the Penn Gas Stop about a block from the Penn Avenue apartment.
Kinerd was arrested, and a handgun was found hidden on the shelf. A cellphone was seized from him. The gun was tested and determined to have been used in Becker's killing.
A search revealed that hours before Becker was slain, Kinerd also created a note in his phone about committing armed robberies, referencing "hitting licks," and in regard to shootings, "when I blow, I always hit."
In an interview with investigators, Kinerd was evasive about whether he was the man seen in the Penn Avenue surveillance video and said he didn't know the other men shown.
In a phone call made from the Ramsey County jail on Tuesday, Kinerd told a woman he needed to speak to "Tank," adding, "I'm cooked. I don't know what to tell Fat. Fat might be cooked."
The following day, Kinerd agreed to speak to a different investigator interviewing him about a robbery and kidnapping a few weeks before Becker's killing. During the interview, Kinerd said he "wasn't worried about the robbery since other investigators had talked to him about a murder," and he asked how much time he would get for that crime.
According to the complaint, Kinerd has two convictions for armed robbery in Hennepin County, although they do not appear on his adult criminal record.