St. Paul, MN – The 17-year-old cousin of Amir Locke, whom police were looking for when they fatally shot Locke in February while serving a search warrant, pleaded guilty on Friday to the January murder of 38-year-old Otis Elder.
Elder was fatally shot on Jan. 10 in the 500-block of North Prior Avenue in St. Paul, WCCO reported.
Police were looking for the gunman – 17-year-old Mekhi Camden Speed – on Feb. 2 when they executed search warrants on three different apartments in Bolero Flats, KARE reported.
Eight SWAT officers served one of the “no knock” warrants at an apartment in Minneapolis belonging to Speed’s brother and his girlfriend.
Locke, Speed’s cousin, was fatally shot during the raid.
Bodycam footage released Feb. 3 showed an officer unlocking the apartment door just before the officers “loudly and repeatedly announced their presence” and entered the apartment, the MPD said in a news release.
They continued announcing themselves as they made their way into the living room area towards a couch, where a figure could be seen moving beneath a white blanket.
One officer kicked the couch and ordered the suspect to get onto the ground.
That’s when the suspect pointed a handgun in another officers’ direction, resulting in the officer firing at him multiple times, according to the press release.
“That’s the moment when the officer had to make a split-second decision, to assess the circumstances and to determine whether he felt like there was an articulable threat, that the threat was of imminent harm – great bodily harm or death – and that he needed to take action right then to protect himself and his partners,” Minneapolis Police Interim Chief Amelia Huffman said, according to Bring Me The News.
Prosecutors ruled the shooting justified in April.
St. Paul police arrested Speed in Winona on Feb. 7 and charged him with two counts of second-degree murder, the New York Post reported.
Speed’s fingerprint had been found on a stolen silver Mercedes Benz that was reportedly used in multiple armed robberies last fall before it was dumped on a parking ramp in Minneapolis.
Officers first tried to track down Speed through his probation officer and his mother before ultimately finding him in Winona, WCCO reported.
Speed tried to flee but was apprehended and arrested.
Police said he had a loaded gun in his jacket, and that it appeared to be the same jacket he was wearing in the surveillance video that showed him shooting Elder.
Speed, who just turned 18, pleaded guilty on May 13 in adult court to one count of second-degree murder without intent while committing a crime, KARE reported.
He told the court he had a gun when he and his friends tried to rob Elder during a drug deal, NBC News reported.
Speed said he stood outside Elder’s vehicle and someone else got in the car.
He said there was a struggle and a shot was fired but he said he didn’t remember pulling the trigger, NBC News reported.
Speed told the court he had been using alcohol, Percocet, and marijuana at the time and didn’t know if his accomplice was also armed with a gun.
In exchange for pleading guilty, prosecutors dropped the second-degree murder with intent charge and agreed not to ask for upward enhancements at sentencing.
Speed is likely to be sentenced to between 10 and 15 years in prison, according to KARE.
Ramsey County Prosecutor George Joyer said Elder’s family objected to the Speed receiving a deal.
The guilty plea officially moved the defendant into the adult correctional system, KARE reported.
He was ordered to be moved to an adult prison at the end of the virtual hearing.