21-year-old woman arrested, charged in violent Minneapolis assault of older Somali woman | KSTP.com

21-year-old woman arrested, charged in violent Minneapolis assault of older Somali woman

Tommy Wiita
Updated: January 08, 2021 06:33 PM
Created: January 08, 2021 10:56 AM

A 21-year-old woman has been taken into custody in connection to a violent assault that happened in Minneapolis on Saturday. 

According to Director of Police Information John Elder, on Saturday at about 12:14 p.m., the Minneapolis Police Department responded to a report of a Somali woman in her mid-70s shot and beaten on the 1700 block of East 22nd Street. 

Officers arrived and located an elderly woman who had been shot and pistol whipped so severely that a metal piece of the gun broke off and was found at the scene. The lone suspect fled the scene with the victim's purse containing her rent money. 

The victim was immediately transported to Hennepin Health Care where she received emergency care to save her life. Her injuries included a fractured skull and brain bleed from the beating and wounds from being shot, according to police.

According to a criminal complaint, during an interview with the victim's son, he stated his mother had left her apartment building to go to the bank to withdraw money for rent and that when she returned, he heard a gunshot outside the building. The victim also told authorities a woman had been following her through the building's parking lot.

"The suspect and the victim went to the building and then rode the elevator to the floor. It happened before she got inside her apartment," Sgt. Abdiwahabi Ali, of Minneapolis Police, said.

Investigators from the Minneapolis Police Department's Robbery and Homicide Units handled the case and used surveillance video to identify a possible suspect.

"We were fortunate in this case that there was good video at the housing authority and I think that was her demise, being caught on video after she was identified," MPD Sgt. Chris Thomsen said.

Then, on Wednesday, detectives went to an address in Brooklyn Park and executed a search warrant. As a result of the warrant, detectives located the gun that was missing the part located at the scene.

The suspect, identified as 21-year-old Da'Seanna D. Williams, was arrested and transported to the Minneapolis Police Department. In an interview, she admitted to authorities to shooting and beating the woman. 

"This is a person who acted with such incredible malice and such incredible disregard for life," Elder said.

She has been booked into the Hennepin County Adult Detention Center where she has been charged with one count each of first-degree aggravated robbery and second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon, causing significant bodily harm. Both charges are felonies. 

Through an additional investigation, Williams has been identified in a series of robberies in the Cedar Riverside area where Somali individuals have been targeted. Those investigations are ongoing, Elder reported.

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS got reaction from the Executive Director of the Council on Americna Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN) Jaylani Hussein.

"A dangerous situation, I'm glad that she's recovering," Hussein said. "This was a deliberate threat to a person's life before the money ... There are others who will target communities like the Somali community, in this horrible robbery that, you know, this woman could've lost her life ... Targeting of Somali women is a hate crime. I don't care who the person is."

MPD said the case isn't being investigated as a hate crime currently.

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