Teen formally charged with murder of St. Paul father; wife shares for first time at community vigil

Teen formally charged with murder of St. Paul father

Teen formally charged with murder of St. Paul father

Prosecutors have formally charged the teenager accused of fatally shooting a St. Paul father outside his home this past weekend.

Police announced that they arrested the 17-year-old on Wednesday, four days after 44-year-old Michael Brasel was shot confronting the person trying to break into his wife’s car, according to his wife, Hilary Brasel.

The teen is now facing second-degree murder charges, and prosecutors plan to try to get him certified to stand trial as an adult.

His first court appearance was Friday afternoon.

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“This senseless act of gun violence tore apart a family as well as their community of neighbors and friends whose loss of a father, husband, friend, and coach will be felt for a lifetime. We are committed to addressing this youth’s actions with every appropriate measure available to us,” Ramsey County Attorney John Choi said Friday. “Special thanks to the Saint Paul Police Department as well as the attorneys in our Youth Justice & Wellness Division who worked tirelessly, diligently, and collaboratively this past week. Our hearts go out to the victim’s family, friends, and community.”

St. Paul police were called to the 2300 block of Chilcombe Avenue just after 7:20 a.m. on Saturday on multiple reports that a man — later identified as Brasel — had just been shot in front of his home.

Charging documents note that one of Brasel’s sons was among those who called 911, and others said they heard three shots and then saw a vehicle speed away, westbound.

Brasel’s wife and a neighbor were performing CPR on him when officers arrived, according to the charging documents, and Brasel was then taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Surveillance video from nearby homes caught parts of the incident and also picked up the sound of three gunshots and a loud muffler.

The documents also note that just after police were called, another caller reported seeing a vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed that swerved onto a sidewalk near Fulham Street and Roselawn Avenue in Lauderdale, causing the vehicle’s bumper to fall off.

Police found the bumper, which still had the license plate attached. That helped police track it back to the 17-year-old.

Data from the teen’s phone showed him at two recent traffic stops that police had on file and also matched the area of the 2300 block of Chilcombe Avenue when Brasel was shot, charging documents state.

Police then executed a search warrant in the 1600 block of Reaney Avenue on Wednesday and arrested the teen. At that time, the documents state the 17-year-old had a key for a vehicle in his pocket, which was for a vehicle on the property that was missing its front bumper and had distinctive paint chipping. A vehicle with that same paint chipping was spotted by surveillance cameras outside Brasel’s home at the time of the shooting.

Court documents also state that the teen’s family told police the teen is the only person who drives that vehicle and they thought it was unusual he’d parked it in a garage instead of on the street but wouldn’t say why, only claiming he’d been in an accident.

The teen didn’t talk to police.

A vigil for Brasel was held on Friday night from 7-9 p.m. at Langford Park in St. Paul, with hundreds of community members showing up to support the Brasel family.

Organizers lined hundreds of paper bags filled with candles throughout Langford Park, creating a path for people to walk through.

Candles at the Brasel vigil (PC: Ben Henry)

And for the first time, Brasel’s wife and mother of their two children, Hilary shared – she said Friday was about remembering Michael, giving thanks, and creating light in a dark time.

“I will forever be grateful to the helpers who’ve come when we called,” Hilary said while fighting back tears, “The Saint Paul Fire Department, the medical staff at HCHC, and most of all, the thousands of people working on behalf of the Saint Paul Police Department. This was not a story that I could have ever imagined we would need to tell … let alone live.”

GoFundMe page has been started to support the Brasel family and more than $213,000 had been raised as of Friday morning. His funeral will be held Saturday.