Pot deal gone wrong also led to Minneapolis's first homicide of year

BrandonBell.jpg
Brandon Bell
On January 3, 22-year-old north Minneapolis resident Devonte Coppage became St. Paul's first homicide victim of 2014 when a pot deal gone awry led to him being shot multiple times in a BP station parking lot.

SEE ALSO: Barack Obama disagrees with Sheriff Stanek about the dangers of pot

Twenty days later, another pot deal gone wrong led to 61-year-old Darnell Harris becoming Minneapolis's first murder victim of the year, according to charges filed in Hennepin County yesterday.

Brandon Bell, a 24-year-old Richfield resident, has been charged with second-degree murder in connection with Harris's death.

According to the charges, private security cameras at a home on the 4500 block of 1st Avenue South in Kingfield captured footage of Bell exiting his vehicle and firing multiple shots into Harris's vehicle around 9:30 p.m. Thursday. Harris, struck in his leg, managed to drive to the 35th Street entrance ramp to northbound 35W, where officers later found him slipping in and out of consciousness with a large pool of blood in his car.

He managed to tell officers "Brandon" had shot him. An examination of his cell phone and the security footage led investigators to conclude Bell was the person Harris referred to.

Harris was transported to HCMC, where he was expected to recover from his injuries.

"We didn't expect him to check out," MPD spokesman John Elder told us over the weekend.

But on Saturday night, Harris passed away.

"At first, this looked like it would be a minor injury and we would charge some sort of an aggravated assault," Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said in a statement. "But the leg wound killed Mr. Harris and we are now charging a murder and will pursue it aggressively."

Investigators brought Bell in for questioning. He first told them he had been buying weed from Harris along 1st Avenue when another vehicle pulled up and fired at Harris. But when shown the video footage of a man resembling him firing into Harris's vehicle, Bell changed his story.

(For more, click to page two.)

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41 comments
Patrick Quinn
Patrick Quinn

If you make pot legal...do you really think people won't buy it illegally for a lowe price.

Duane Hirsch
Duane Hirsch

Where would all of the cops and courts get there money and employment if pot was legal. It's a money and kingdom thing with them

Jeffrey A. Koenen
Jeffrey A. Koenen

Pot is not a gateway drug. Alcohol is. I've never had a bad idea while buzzed from pot. All my ideas are dumb when I'm drunk.

MrGasso
MrGasso

Legalize Now Dayton! Don't continue to be a weenie!

sheesh
sheesh

you think this nigga got shot over marijuana? he got shot because niggas be robbin people and shit. he could have been bumming a cig and gotten shot for it. don't make it a pot issue, it's a po black folk issue.

Andy Herzog
Andy Herzog

The desperation we see in the drug trade now is not desperation to get a fix, it is desperation to make more money in a system not governed by law and it is a desperation to remain free and out of jail that causes people to lash out violently and kill others.

Andy Herzog
Andy Herzog

Will, I have never once felt violent without marijuana, despite using it every day for years. I could argue that pot is different, safer, addictive in different ways and that my only withdrawal symptoms are a suppressed appetite and a return to the anxieties that give me cause to smoke in the first place. But a better, more concretely logical answer is the one I already gave: out of pot and really hankering to get baked? In a legalized state, you can just go to a store and buy some! It may be a weird concept to wrap your head around, but in that world, there are no crazed Reefer Madness-style junkies wandering back alleys sucking dick or stabbing someone for a gram. Just as an alcoholic who shakes all morning til he gets a drink, the rumored derelict stoner should be able to stroll into a legitimate business and exchange legal tender for superior, quality-controlled and regulated product.

Dusty Trice
Dusty Trice

Such a shame to see so many people being arrested and killed over the arbitrary prohibition of a plant. 750,000ish arrested for marijuana in 2012 alone. If we'd make marijuana legal, we wouldn't be having these kinds of problems. I can't wait for the rest of this country to speak up and follow the lead of Colorado and Washington State.

Will Chris
Will Chris

While andy has a point, I disagree in that there are second and 3rd order effects of drug use that you're not accounting for. People strung out on drugs, and this includes alcohol to an extent, will do desperate, violent things to finance their next fix. Yeah you might not have the direct violence associated with the drug trade, but if you legalize it, more people are likely to smoke it, get hooked, go broke, and then get desperate for their next fix. While I'm not saying that means it should remain outlawed--I do believe in personal accountability--I am saying that making drugs legal will not necessarily eliminate drug related crime, because addiction can and does lead to violent behavior in addicts.

Stuttering John
Stuttering John

One more of the dangers that come with the devils lettuce.

Tony Whelan
Tony Whelan

This is what happens when marijuana is controlled by the black market don't blame marijuana for the violence blame the stupid people in the black market

Tiffany Val
Tiffany Val

How would it not JM? It would be legal, shady deals would be considerably reduced. You really think a bunch of stoned people are going to go around causing violence? Also, if you really want proof, check out all the places where weed is legal. That's proof enough.

Del Bauer
Del Bauer

Here's my foolproof method for avoiding being killed during a drug deal: I don't deal drugs.

Andy Herzog
Andy Herzog

Look up statistics on marijuana-related violence in Colorado since the inception of their medical program. You put quality bud at competitive prices in a controlled environment and suddenly there's no need to contact career criminals to meet in secluded, surveillance-free areas to then give them money to finance their other more dangerous and harmful enterprises, ie. purchasing guns, other more destructive drugs, etc. If the growers are careful and follow regulation and are protected by local law rather than treated as criminals, even a grow-op can be a safe place to work and make money legitimately. You never hear about people shooting eachother over a handle of vodka or running a smash and grab on a distillery, because why would you? Believe me, I and many others have thought about what I'm saying, sir. It's common sense. People don't kill eachother over things that are both legal and widely available to the public.

JM Griffin
JM Griffin

You really think that ti would take the violence out of the equation? You really need to think about what you're saying because I'm call BS on that.

James Cowart
James Cowart

what type of idiot thinks he could get 10-12g's worth on an outta state id? let alone 1 oz... and i herd their prices are 50% higher, what a moron. enjoy lock up dude.

Andy Herzog
Andy Herzog

Legalization would prevent these things. Legitimatize the marijuana trade and take the violence right out of the equation - Looking at you, Rich Stanek...

Nick Leonetti
Nick Leonetti

Whats with people killing each other over erb..wtf? It definatlyis not worth facing life in prison over...personally i think it should be legalized...even though i dont smoke it.

Gary
Gary

Hmm...if only there was something the state and country could do to take the criminal element out of drug deals, especially those involving an otherwise 100% harmless plant...hmmmm...

_demoneyez
_demoneyez

@jpkolb @atrupar marijuana doesn’t kill. prohibition does. these incidents wouldn’t happen without prohibition.

Gary
Gary

Believe it or not, A LOT of us would gladly pay extra for convenience, quality, and, you know, not having to risk getting arrested.

_Joe_
_Joe_

@Will Chris

You clearly know nothing about the effect of cheebs, man.  That shit doesn't happen with pot.

Gary
Gary

Because no one has ever gotten hooked, went broke and got desperate for their next fix on alcohol or gambling. You clearly don't like marijuana for whatever personal reason you have which is fine, but I'll let you in on a little secret: NO ONE is going to force you or any of your loved ones to smoke. I promise you. Stop policing adults who choose to do whatever they want with their own free time and bodies.

Gary
Gary

And oddly enough, I vividly remember trying cigarettes and alcohol long before I tried marijuana. But by all means, keep throwing out the "gateway drug" argument, Professor Expert.

markrek
markrek

POT NAZI- DIE HITLER YOUTH!!!

_Joe_
_Joe_

@Stuttering John

I got $20 that says religion has killed more people than weed.

_Joe_
_Joe_

@Del Bauer 

 That's not foolproof.  You could still get killed during a drug deal just by living in the area or being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

MicheleBachmann
MicheleBachmann topcommenter

Are you the dumbest person on Earth?   Prohibition of marijuana creates a black market which creates criminal gangs.  Ever heard of Al Capone stupid?   It's a pretty established fact The War on Drugs causes gang violence.  Where the fuck do you think a 16 year old inner city kid gets money to buy a gun?  

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