3 charged in shooting death of teen at graduation party in Woodbury, whereabouts unknown
Three people, including a 17-year-old boy, have been charged in the shooting death of a 14-year-old at a graduation party in Woodbury last weekend.
Criminal complaints separately filed for each person, as well as a juvenile petition, state 19-year-old Jaden Lavan Townsend, from St. Paul, 23-year-old Enrique Lucio Davila and a 17-year-old from Oakdale, are named as the suspects. Townsend has been charged with five counts of aiding and abetting second-degree murder. Davila faces one count of aiding and abetting in second-degree murder and four counts of aiding and abetting in second-degree assault.
The juvenile faces one count of aiding and abetting in second-degree murder and four counts of aiding and abetting second-degree assault. Prosecutors state in the complaint that they intend to have the juvenile tried as an adult.
All three suspects have been charged via warrants and a juvenile petition as "their whereabouts are unknown," according to the documents filed in Washington County Court.
Earlier this week, 35-year-old Keith Dawson of St. Paul was charged with drive-by shooting, assault with a dangerous weapon and illegal possession of a gun. He made his first court appearance this week and remains in jail.
On June 5, officers responded to a shooting in the 6100 block of Edgewood Road in Woodbury. Dispatch alerted officers that several people were screaming at the scene. Initial reports indicated that a driver of a white SUV fired shots into a dark SUV. People inside the dark SUV returned fire, resulting in a fatal wound to 14-year-old Demaris N. Hobbs-Ekdahl while he was sitting inside a different vehicle. The gunshot first hit the trunk of the car and went through the seat cushion, according to the complaint.
It remains unclear who was responsible for the gunshot that killed Hobbs-Ekdahl. The Ramsey County Medical Examiner conducted an autopsy on the teen and stated a single gunshot wound to the right dorsal torso of Hobbs-Ekdahl resulted in a "perforated right lung, heart and aorta, before it exited the left thoracic cavity." The cause of death was determined to be "exsanguination due to gunshot wound."
About 40 shell casings were found at the scene, according to the complaint.
A witness told law enforcement she was standing in the driveway when she saw a white Chevrolet Tahoe turn onto Edgewood Avenue from Woodbine Avenue, moving slowly and honking its horn. The Tahoe was seen pulling up next to a dark SUV parked just south of the residence. The witness stated she saw two males standing next to the dark SUV and recognized them. The witness then claimed to see the driver of the Tahoe reach over and fire "three to four" rounds through the open window of the front passenger door. According to the complaint, the witness said she heard about "15 to 20" shots being exchanged after the initial gunfire.
Officers were able to locate the Tahoe, but its driver, later identified as Dawson, refused to pull over. Eventually, the pursuit ended at Regions Hospital. Police found four males inside the vehicle, including Hobbs-Ekdahl. He was pronounced dead at the hospital at 11:12 p.m., according to court documents.
Authorities also learned that a 2019 Kia Forte was involved in the shooting. After locating the vehicle in a Maplewood neighborhood, police went to the address it was parked at and interviewed witnesses who were with Hobbs-Ekdahl during that day. When they arrived at the graduation party, they told police they saw Townsend and the juvenile at the event. They also were able to identify Davila at the party. According to an interview with investigators, one of the witnesses said the group wanted to leave the party, but as they walked away from the car, Townsend and Davila approached. Davila was noted to have a handgun, and Townsend allegedly slapped a victim at the scene but wasn’t seen with a handgun.
The juvenile was seen standing with Davila and Townsend, with a black handgun in his pocket, according to the complaint. Police were told that Hobbs-Ekdahl called their stepfather, Dawson, during the incident. When Hobbs-Ekdahl and others went to meet Dawson by a car dealership close to the residence, Dawson told them they "needed to go back to the party so the juvenile and Townsend would stop messing with them."
Five victims followed Dawson in the Forte back to the residence, with Dawson driving in the Tahoe alone. Once they arrived, Dawson pulled up to a dark green Dodge Durango and saw both Townsend and Davila standing outside the vehicle. Dawson then began to fire his weapon in the Durango’s direction, and Hobbs-Ekdahl reported he was shot shortly after the exchange of gunfire began, according to the complaint. As the five victims fled the area, they noted that a Dodge Durango eventually started to "chase them," and they told police they believe the driver of that vehicle was Townsend.
Officers familiar with the juvenile went to his residence, where they discovered a dark green Dodge Durango parked in the driveway. People inside the residence said neither Townsend nor the juvenile were home at the time. Police found multiple guns and ammunition on the property. Forensic testing on the guns is pending as of Friday.