Man convicted of murder in shooting that killed former Central High basketball star

A jury has convicted one of the two men charged in connection with the killing of a former Central High School basketball star earlier this year.

D’Angelo Semaj Dampier, 19, was accused of helping conceal the gun his brother, 22-year-old Xavion Tyrece Bell, allegedly used to kill 21-year-old Dion Ford Jr. during an attempted robbery on March 31 in St. Paul.

Dampier was convicted on two counts of second-degree murder, one count of aiding an offender and two counts of being a felon in possession of firearms or ammunition. A sixth charge was dismissed at trial.

A criminal complaint states Dampier’s girlfriend had dropped Bell and Dampier off at a supermarket and restaurant at Maryland Avenue West and Arundel Street. Dampier told his girlfriend to park her car a block away by Norton Street.

Surveillance footage shows Dampier and Bell walking in the business and following Ford around inside. Ford went out to his car in the parking lot, and Bell approached him with his hand in his jacket pocket. As Bell opened the driver’s side door and leaned in, Ford pulled out a gun and shot Bell, who then returned fire.

Video shows Ford alternating between shooting at Bell and another shooter off to the west. Eventually, Ford is shown “slumped over, never to move again” before Bell proceeds to shoot “an additional 13 times at [Ford’s] lifeless body.”

When police got to the scene, they found Ford’s body and saw Dampier carrying Bell to his girlfriend’s car. Ford was holding a handgun and had a permit to carry in his wallet, according to the complaint.

Officers stopped the woman from driving away, and Bell was taken to the hospital in critical condition with a gunshot wound to his back. Dampier, meanwhile, left the scene.

Dampier’s girlfriend told police that Dampier had taken Bell’s gun at the crime scene and had later tried to sell it.

Police later executed a search warrant at Dampier’s address in St. Paul and subsequently arrested him. He admitted to firing in Ford’s direction after he “saw folks draw guns.” He estimated shooting five or six times but did not believe he had hit Ford.

Dampier told investigators he brought home the guns he and Bell fired and that someone he didn’t know came by to take the guns away to protect the two of them.

Dampier’s sentencing is set for Dec. 7. A jury trial for Bell is scheduled to begin on April 3.