Social media threats bring charges against suspected gang members

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Four men suspected of being gang members were charged with four counts each of terroristic threats based on Facebook and other social media postings, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Thursday.

Jawan Carroll, 18, of Golden Valley, Dayshane Cochran, 18, of Minneapolis, Elijah Edwards, 19, of St. Paul and Brian Edwards, 20, of Minneapolis each were charged with the four counts of terroristic threats. In addition, Elijah and Brian Edwards, who are brothers, also were charged with two counts of a prohibited person in possession of a firearm. Carroll also was charged with two counts of carrying a pistol without a permit.

“As gang violence has spread to social media, prosecutors and police have evolved with them,” Freeman said. “We believe these videos are one of the components behind the escalation in gun violence between street gangs. These charges show that we are using every tool at our disposal to get these young men off of our streets in order to make our neighborhoods safe again.”

According to the criminal complaints, the main street gangs involved in the social media videos and threats are the Tre Tre’s, centered around 33rd Avenue North in Minneapolis, and the Skitz Squad, which is centered in an area a few blocks south. All four of the defendants are known members of the Tre Tre gang.

On Jan. 2, a video was posted to social media with Carroll in the title and the Edwards brothers and Cochran holding firearms. On Jan. 8, a new video was posted with the four men holding guns and flashing Tre Tre gang signals. In addition, the video showed the street address of 2954 Dupont Ave. N., a clear provocation because Juwon “Skitz” Osborne was murdered outside that house, an act that led to the formation of the Skitz Squad, the complaint states. That murder still is unsolved. The video also contains explicit threats against the Skitz Squad, including a threat to shoot them with a Beretta.

Minneapolis police had information that the gang would be filming a video on Jan. 8 at 1001 N. Seventh St. They had officers watching the house and social media. They saw the video the moment it was posted and a short time later, watched as several men left the house and drive off in two cars, according to the complaint.

Police stopped both cars. When searched, officers found that Carroll had a Ruger pistol in his pocket and another gun was found under his car seat. He does not have a state permit to carry a handgun. The Ruger appeared to be the one that was seen in both videos, the complaint states.

Brian Edwards was convicted of first-degree robbery in 2011. As a result, he is prohibited from possessing a handgun.  

Cochran made his first appearance Wednesday and his bail was set at $75,000. Carroll made his first court appearance Tuesday and bail was set at $75,000. Elijah Edwards made his first appearance Monday and his bail was set at $150,000 without conditions or $75,000 with about a dozen conditions. Brian Edwards has not made a first appearance.

Carroll complaint (PDF)

Cochran complaint (PDF)

B. Edwards complaint (PDF)

E. Edwards complaint (PDF)