Man arrested in murder of Republican campaign volunteer, 17 – no suspect details have been released?

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MINNEAPOLIS, MN –A teenager who volunteered for a Republican campaign was shot dead coming out of a convenience store on September 14th.  The suspect in that shooting was arrested on September 17th.

The victim, Andre Conley was volunteering for Lacy Johnson, who is running for Congress as a Republican against current Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar.  Minneapolis Police report that they were able to take the shooting suspect into custody after a vehicle pursuit.

John Elder, a spokesman for the Minneapolis Police Department said that officers had located the suspect and attempted to stop him.  The suspect refused to stop and fled, which started a vehicle pursuit.

Officers continued the vehicle pursuit onto I-394 westbound to northbound Highway 169.  The suspect pulled off onto East Medicine Lake Road in Plymouth and crashed. 

Police have not released the name of the suspect in this case nor advised of any possible motive.  They have stated that they do not believe this case was politically motivated in anyway.

The initial drive by shooting was brought to you by Law Enforcement Today.  In that article, Johnson spoke about the shooting which left one injured and Conley dead.

Johnson noted that the teenager and another man, who was hurt in the shooting, worked for him. They were not carrying out campaigning duties for him when they were shot.

Johnson said:

“Today we are shocked and saddened to learn of this senseless act of violence. It is shocking and unnecessary acts of violence like this that prove why change is more needed than ever in our community.”

The two men among a group of people that were standing outside of a Super USA convenience store. This was at the intersection of North Fremont and Dowling Avenues.  That’s when a green truck pulled up and gunfire heard. The men were shot by one or more shooters.

Both were rushed to the hospital. Conley was pronounced dead. The other man was injured but in stable condition. The gunman fled the scene, and nobody has been apprehended.

It continued:

“We have also been in discussions with members of the community who have detailed knowledge of the sources of the sometimes violence in our community.”

Johnson posted this on his Facebook page, which has nearly 70,000 people who like it. The post received 41 comments and 40 shares.

Among the comments:

“I’m so sorry, Lacy. I was heartbroken over the death of a 17-year old, and even more so when I heard he was one of your workers. I can’t even imagine his parents’ grief. Praying for all of you. This HAS to end.”

And another stated:

“I’m heartbroken over this as well as all the shootings in MPLS this year. Lacy please keep us updated as to who we can reach out to so this young mans family can get help with funeral arrangements. Please keep on fighting for law and order.”

Max Rymer, Minnesota’s Republican National Committee Committeeman, seemed to answer the question with a post of his own.

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The organizer of this Go Fund Me, Kari Brynne, updated the donation page. She stated:

“After speaking to Mr. Conleys family, they have decided that the other kid that was shot needs the help more.  So from here on out this $ will be for Andre Kelley. Mr. Kelley is fighting for his life and is in [sic] more dire financial need. Please know that this $ will Be handed to Andre K’s mother, Amanda.”

The GoFundMe page has a total of almost $3,000. There have been 56 donors (as of the date this is posted), and nearly 500 shares. The goal is $50,000.

Conley attended Patrick Henry High. He was a senior. Officials at the school identified Conley in a Facebook post.

Yusuf Abdullah, the principal at Patrick Henry High School, said to WCOO:

Andre has a smile on him, especially when he’s in a good mood. Andre has a smile on him that would light up a room.”

This post received 151 reactions, 17 comments and 22 shares. The community reaction was of heartbreak. One lady wrote:

“Truly, truly sad news. A true bright light of a spirit, André.”

But Abdullah, and the family, has seen a massive support from the educators, and not just from Patrick Henry High School.

Amidst distance learning, educators from different districts, showed their support to the family, the community, the students, and the school administration. Ms. Mauri Friestleben, the principal at North High School, told Abdullah:

“I hope that you see our presence here today means that you are not alone.”

She told WCCO:

“This is not Henry’s pain to grieve alone, it’s all of Minneapolis’ pain and MPS pain to bear together.”

A Facebook Post on True North Minneapolis Legacy described it.

He spoke about Conley’s mother, two sibling and Aunt who were there.

“His aunt spoke of a good kid that had just started his senior year in high school… a kid that had goals for himself and was excited to be working for Lacy Johnson’s campaign… his aunt said he took the job to keep himself busy.”

The community ranging from classmates, to neighbors, to church members and activists, stood in prayer. They mourned for a life lost too soon. The poster struggled to tell Conley’s mother how sorry he was, and how at a genuinely loss looking into her grief-stricken face, he felt helpless.

He then went was filled with righteous indignation:  

“How after all of the community meetings, all of the gatherings, all of the talks, the planning, the marching and everything that I alone have participated in, are our youth are still dying in the street in disturbingly increased numbers? I spoke with one schoolteacher friend of mine at the vigil who has lost THREE of her kids this year to gun violence.”

He then called for something to be done:

“We as a community… as a WHOLE community need to rise to the occasion and DO SOMETHING. It’s only a matter of time before more blood will be shed…Talk is cheap for a young man who gave the most valuable asset he had for us to just allow this to continue…It’s not in me to just give up.”

Shootings have skyrocketed in Minneapolis over the summer following George Floyd’s death on Memorial Day weekend. Floyd, if you’ll recall, was a black man who died in Minneapolis police custody.

Including the death of Conley, this is the city’s “59th homicide victim of the year — and the ninth who was 18 or under “— according to a database maintained by the Star Tribune.

In 2019, the city had 48 homicides in total. 

Police Chief Medaria Arradondo told Minneapolis council members that 400 people have been shot this year in the city.

Council Member Phillipe Cunningham said:

“What I am sort of flabbergasted by right now is that colleagues who a very short time ago were calling for abolition are now suggesting we should be putting more funding and resources into MPD.  We know this is not producing different outcomes.”

Maybe Mr. Cunningham needs to drop the notion of defunding the police, and actually talking to them.

Perhaps an actual dialogue would be more beneficial, as well as supporting the police department? If the council stands against then they aren’t going to go out of their way to help people who hate them. You know, common sense 101. 

But, Arradondo pointed out that 100 officers left his agency this year. Usually there are only 40-45 departures yearly.

There are also the disability claims that are doubling. Ron Meuser, an attorney who represents the Minneapolis Police Federation regarding disability claims said that 175 officers are making medical claims due to post-traumatic stress syndrome.

Does anyone really blame them? Most would have PTSD after what the council has put them through. Moral is probably at it’s lowest. 

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