Teen charged as adult in 2022 Uptown Minneapolis murder
A teenager has been ordered to stand trial as an adult in connection to a homicide last year in Minneapolis’ Uptown neighborhood.
A judge ordered 17-year-old Jaqwon James Smith, from St. Louis Park, to stand trial as an adult on Friday. He was formally charged by prosecutors Monday morning with second-degree murder, first-degree riot, second-degree assault and illegal gun possession.
According to court documents, Minneapolis police were called to a report of shots fired near Hennepin Avenue South and Lagoon Avenue at around 11:55 p.m. on April 23, 2022. Once there, officers found Brown on the ground, bleeding near the front entrance of a nearby parking ramp.
The documents note that a good Samaritan who worked as a medical professional was applying pressure to Brown’s sternum area and police also provided aid when they arrived. However, paramedics pronounced Brown dead at the scene, and several discharged cartridge casings were found in the area.
Surveillance video from nearby businesses led officers to Holt, a criminal complaint states. Investigators also learned Holt had allegedly punched a person inside Williams Uptown Pub earlier that night while both Smith and Brown were there, and Smith also allegedly participated in the ensuing brawl.
Brown left three minutes after Holt punched the bar patron, according to the complaint, just after Holt and Smith left, and investigators say Holt handed Smith a gun.
As Holt, Smith and some others walked west from the pub, Brown passed them heading east on the sidewalk. The complaint states that, as they passed each other, Brown was seen apparently trying to get something out of his pocket and Holt then extended his arm, holding a gun, and fired at Brown. Smith also allegedly fired at least seven times at Brown, with one of the rounds hitting a window of the Uptown Tavern.
Surveillance video then showed Smith and Holt get into a Dodge Charger that quickly left the area. Officers learned the Charger was involved and pursued it but ultimately lost it. They later found it abandoned and learned a relative of Holt’s had reported it stolen about an hour after the shooting. However, officers recovered a gun and a live cartridge that matched the bullet Brown was hit by.
After they were taken into custody, the complaint states that Smith admitted an association with Holt and showed officers that he and Holt and been in a rap video posted to YouTube shortly before the shooting. Smith was seen in the rap video making hand signs associated with the Blood gang and Smith was seen wearing the same ski mask as he was in surveillance videos.
Court documents note a gun was recovered with Brown, too, and officers believe he fired once at Holt and Smith. Forensic testing determined he was hit by the gun Holt fired.
Holt is scheduled to go on trial in June.
The complaint states that Smith has prior convictions for attempted robbery and aggravated robbery. He’s scheduled to make his first court appearance on the murder charge Tuesday afternoon.