Charges in gang shooting that killed innocent victim

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

A Minneapolis man has been charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of a grandmother, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Thursday.

Joshua Chiazor Ezeka, 20, is charged with second-degree murder, with intent, not pre-meditated in the shooting death of Birdell Beeks, 58.

According to the criminal complaint, Beeks and her granddaughter were in their car at the intersection of 21st Ave. N. and Penn Ave. N. when a male suspect fired a gun multiple times, from an unknown location, toward the vicinity of the car. Beeks was struck, received medical attention, but died from the injuries she sustained.

Witnesses on the scene, and during subsequent interviews, provided police with a general description of the gunman’s clothes and build. Forensic scientists processed the scene and are continuing their search for evidence. Investigators have interviewed multiple witnesses, executed numerous search warrants, and reviewed surveillance video, photographs, cell phones and social media accounts. Many witnesses have expressed fear of retaliation.

The ongoing investigation has confirmed the following: An individual, who is known to associate with “the highs” gang, approached the area in a car. Another individual, who is associated with “the lows,” a rival gang, told Ezeka that a rival gang member was nearby. Shortly after receiving this information, Ezeka, armed with a gun, ran toward the rival gang member’s car and started shooting multiple times. He was approximately 30 yards from the car when he fired his gun. Some bullets struck the rival gang member’s car and others struck Beeks’ car. According to police reports, witnesses confirmed that after firing the shots, Ezeka fled from the area in a car with other individuals.

Ezeka is in custody and is expected to make his first court appearance today.

Criminal Complaint (PDF)