‘He was 22’: A year later, Amir Locke’s parents reflect on son’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police
Both Andre Locke and Karen Wells remember waking up with a sick feeling in their stomachs in the early morning hours of Feb. 2, 2022.
Later that same morning, they learned Minneapolis police had shot and killed their son, 22-year-old Amir Locke, while executing a search warrant at the apartment where he was staying.
“Our son didn’t do anything wrong. It could have been anyone’s son,” Andre Locke said. “But it happened to be ours, and people don’t understand how it feels until it actually happens to them.”
This week, the couple will mark a grim milestone that Andre Locke can only describe as surreal.
“It feels the same,” he said during an interview with 5 INVESTIGATES. “The pain hasn’t gone away. It’s something that we deal with daily.”
Amir Locke’s death sparked outrage in Minneapolis. The family said the 22-year-old was asleep on the couch when Minneapolis SWAT officers entered the apartment. Body camera footage released in the days after the shooting shows Locke emerge from underneath a blanket, holding a gun that his family said he legally owned.
MPD Officer Mark Hanneman, who told investigators he “felt in this moment that if I did not use deadly force myself, I would likely be killed,” opened fire, killing Locke. Months later, prosecutors declined to file criminal charges against Hanneman.
“He was 22,” Karen Wells said. “He deserved to live out and become a man.”
Wells said her son was independent and had dreams of becoming an entrepreneur.
Read KSTP’s full Amir Locke coverage
“They took someone out of this world that wanted to make changes,” she said. “Amir was a go-getter. He wanted to do things. And it saddens us because he has to live through us now.”
In the year since losing her son, Wells said she’s advocated for police reform measures across the country. In the wake of the deadly shooting, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey announced the police department would no longer be able to apply for or carry out no-knock search warrants.
Wells said she draws strength from families who have also lost loved ones at the hands of police and feels it’s important to speak out for.
“We’re like a family that’s been blended because of tragedies,” she said.
Wells and Andre Locke have found other ways to honor their son. Karen got a tattoo of Amir on her right arm to remind her that he is her “right-hand man.”
Andre Locke has channeled his grief into music. In November, he released a song he wrote called “So Thankful” alongside Grammy-winning singer Jamecia Bennett and the group Sounds of Blackness. He said the single was inspired by Amir.