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Man arrested, charged with murder in Brooklyn Center drug deal robbery

Giovanni Vernell Williams Photo: Hennepin County Sheriff's Office
Giovanni Vernell Williams

Updated: December 17, 2019 01:38 PM

A Minneapolis man is charged with second-degree murder in a fatal shooting during a drug deal robbery.

Giovanni Vernell Williams, 23, was identified by police as the suspect in a shooting last Wednesday night. However, police were unable to find Williams until Tuesday morning when they located and arrested him at a Brooklyn Park residence.

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According to a criminal complaint, police were called to the Pump n' Munch gas station on 69th Avenue North in Brooklyn Center around 9:15 p.m. on Dec. 11. First responders found a 45-year-old male victim in the front passenger seat of a 2002 Chevrolet Blazer with his girlfriend, who was screaming and holding clothing against the victim's head wound.

Police and paramedics treated the man, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Authorities investigating homicide in Brooklyn Center

The victim's girlfriend told police that a man she knew as "Giovanni" shot the victim, the complaint states. She also informed police that earlier in the day, she had arranged with another person to sell an ounce of marijuana for $300. That other person put her in contact with Giovanni Williams, and the agreement was to meet at the gas station.

The victim's girlfriend drove herself and her boyfriend to the gas station, and within minutes of arriving, a Chrysler 200 pulled into a parking spot next to the Blazer, the complaint states. Williams then allegedly got out of the Chrysler and climbed into the back seat of the Blazer. Williams talked with the victim about the marijuana, then asked to smell it. Williams then indicated he was robbing the victim and fired one shot into his head, the complaint states.

Surveillance video and one of the people in the Chrysler with Williams verified much of the girlfriend's account, the Hennepin County Attorney's Office said. The complaint states authorities also talked with the person who the girlfriend arranged the drug deal with, and the man told police he had no idea Williams was going to rob or harm the victim.

The victim was identified as Dattreas Stewart.

Williams is expected to make his first court appearance Wednesday. Prosecutors will seek bail of $2 million, according to the attorney's office.

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