Suspect charged in St. Paul homicide, separate kidnapping and robbery incident
A man arrested by police for a homicide in St. Paul is also accused of a kidnapping and robbery in a separate incident.
St. Paul Police said 20-year-old Arteze Owen Kinerd was been arrested and booked for the murder of 22-year-old Alex Becker. His death was St. Paul’s 40th homicide of 2022.
Thursday, Kinerd was formally charged with killing Becker.
Becker’s aunt, Hidy Hammarsten, told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, “Alex was a very sweet child and young man,” adding that, “His concern was always for other people.”
Hammarsten explained that Becker worked about a mile away from his home and had been taking an Uber home from work but decided to walk home that night since it was warmer outside. Since his death, she says she’s been getting messages from people she’s never met who went knew Becker, “and everybody just loves him. If you knew him, you loved him.”
As for the arrest of Kinerd and charges against him, Hammarsten says it’s still hard to find comfort in that.
“I wanna say yes but I’m having a hard time finding comfort really,” Hammarsten said through tears. “I wanna say yes but I’m having a hard time finding comfort, really. I’m very happy they’re off the streets and I hope they’re punished for the crime that they committed and I’m very thankful for all the work that the St. Paul Police Department did to find them but I’m so sad.”
“There’s not a negative thing to say about Alex. … The world is missing out without him here,” she added.
A criminal complaint states that Kinerd was one of three men involved in the shooting that took Becker’s life. Police said Thursday that they’re still searching for the others who were with Kinerd. The Ramsey County medical examiner states that Becker was shot six times.
Investigators viewed surveillance footage that was taken the night of the shooting. It showed three men running down an alley that Becker had just entered and several gunshots being fired at 11:53 p.m. The suspects then left the area in a stolen Toyota Camry, according to the complaint.
In January, that Camry was then found near a Minneapolis apartment that Kinerd rents with his girlfriend. Police said a cell phone that was stolen from a separate home invasion pinged inside that apartment building, and investigators identified Kinerd in surveillance footage that showed him inside the apartment when the phone pinged.
The complaint states that investigators saw two men and Kinerd leave his apartment at around 10:14 p.m. on Dec. 27, the night Alex Becker was killed. They were all wearing the same clothing that was worn by the attackers in the St. Paul surveillance footage. Video also shows the three men arriving back at the apartment at around 12:27 a.m. on Dec. 28.
Officers say they found Kinerd on Jan. 3 at a gas station. The complaint states that his “eyes grew big, and he ducked down in the store when he saw officers.” Police then recovered a handgun near where Kinerd had ducked down and placed him under arrest.
The complaint also states that, on Thursday, test results came back showing the gun recovered when Kinerd was arrested was the one that fired the casings found by Becker’s body.
A search warrant was served at Kinerd’s apartment, and investigators say they recovered several articles of clothing that matched what the shooting suspects wore in the surveillance footage. Police then recovered a revolver and two magazines loaded with pistol ammunition for a different gun. Police also found a debit card that was taken at gunpoint from another victim in early December.
During an interview with investigators, Kinerd was shown photos of the stolen Camry, Alex Becker’s body, and images of the three men returning to the apartment. The complaint states that Kinerd was “evasive” when asked if he was one of the three men shown in the photo. He also refused to answer when asked where he was the night of the murder, but denied being at the murder scene.
The complaint states that Kinerd made a phone call from Ramsey County Jail that night and told a woman that he needed to speak to Tank, adding that “I’m cooked, I don’t know what to tell Fat. Fat might be cooked.”
Another criminal complaint names Kinerd as a suspect in an incident where a man was robbed, held against his will and threatened at gunpoint.
It happened at around 9:15 p.m. on Dec. 9 when a man who was sitting in a parked vehicle was approached by two men who forced him out at gunpoint. The complaint states that they took his phone, watch and wallet forced him into the back seat with his dog.
The complaint states that the man was parked in front of his partner’s house, and the woman approached the vehicle to greet him. The man then yelled “Get away now!” fearing that she would be also be taken hostage by the men. The suspects then sped off in the victim’s vehicle with him in it. The victim said that his phone was being used by one of the suspects to transfer money out of the victim’s account.
The suspects then crashed the vehicle, and walked the victim back to his home. The complaint states they then threatened to send hired killers to his home if he told anyone about what happened.
The victim’s phone was later recovered, and police were given permission to search it. The victim’s debit card was found inside Kinerd’s apartment when police served the search warrant.
The description of the revolver used to threaten the victim also matched the revolver found in Kinerd’s apartment.
Kinerd is charged with second-degree intentional murder for Becker’s death. He also faces charges for aiding and abetting first-degree aggravated robbery aiding and abetting kidnapping.
He made his first court appearance on Thursday and had his bail set at $2 million for Becker’s murder and $500,000 for the robbery case. His next hearing is scheduled for Jan. 26.