Teen charged in shooting during drug deal

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

A Richfield teenager has been charged with attempted second-degree murder for shooting another teen during a drug deal, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Tuesday.

Steve Avila, 16, has also been charged with two counts of second-degree assault for shooting with two other victims present during the drug deal. A 15-year-old in connection with the shooting has also been charged.

Avila made his first appearance March 23. His next court appearance is April 27.

“During this challenging time, our office’s top concern remains public safety. We are committed to upholding the rule of law as ministers of justice,” Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman stated.

“With each case, we will, as always, evaluate and charge accordingly. And though we are adapting new strategies amidst the COVID-19 outbreak, criminal activity will be treated with the same diligent attention our office has always given it. There is no leniency when it comes to illicit behavior.”

According to the petition, on March 6, Bloomington police responded to emergency calls of shootings near 8300 Chicago Ave. S. in Bloomington. A local resident stated that they saw two males running away from the scene where gunshots were fired. Police were unable to locate anyone when they arrived.

During the Bloomington police response to emergency calls, Richfield police found a red Lexus sedan parked at 66th St. W. in Richfield with the three victims of the shooting sitting inside. The police learned from these individuals that they were involved in the shooting at Chicago Ave. S. Victim one, a 19-year-old, had suffered gunshot wounds to the face and required immediate medical attention. The other two victims were unharmed. Richfield police also located two bullet holes on the sedan: one on the rear window, the other on the front passenger’s side door, the petition states.

At the scene of the shooting, three bullet casings were found on the ground. Officers were also able to pull surveillance footage from the area where the shooting occurred, which shows two males who fit descriptions according to the three victims, the petition continues.

In the videos, Avila and the 15-year-old can be seen on Chicago Avenue, with the 15-year-old waiting on the side of the road, while Avila runs across a lawn and off screen. The victims’ sedan soon appears on screen, and stops to speak with the 15-year-old. Words are exchanged between the 15-year-old and victims, who pull the car up to the curb. There is a sudden eruption of gunfire, and the video captures a flash of a gun being shot off screen. The vehicle speeds off, and the 15-year-old runs away in the opposite direction of the car, the petition states.

Avila can next be seen on screen coming from the same direction as the car, then quickly running off with the 15-year-old. When officers spoke with the victims, they informed investigators they were in the Chicago Ave. S. area for a drug deal, the petition continues.

On March 20, police executed a search warrant of Avila’s bedroom and found a gun that they believe was used during the shooting.

Both Avila and the 15-year-old are detained in the Juvenile Detention Center. No other information is public on the 15-year-old since he is a juvenile.

Steve Avila Petition (PDF)