Friends Identify Man Found Dead in Vehicle as Basketball Coach, Father

July 23, 2018 02:57 PM

Friends have identified Saturday's murder victim in Minneapolis as 27-year-old Monte Whitner.

At a vigil held by Green Central Park on the south side of town, they remembered him as a man who grew up there and gave back there.


Whitner worked as a basketball coach for inner-city kids.

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"He wanted you to do better for yourself," lifelong friend Corey Deloach said.

Whitner also was the father of three young children.

Minneapolis Police said multiple 911 calls reporting gunfire on the 5700 block of 33rd Avenue South Saturday about 2:40 in the morning, led officers to a banged up vehicle in someone's front yard.  The car damaged a metal railing along the stairs and tire tracks were obvious in the grass.  Police radio traffic indicated, "the victim needs to be extricated from the vehicle."

John Elder, a spokesman for the police department, said, "evidence at the scene indicates a handgun may have been used in the crime."  

Friends said Whitner was going to visit someone who lived in the area. It's not clear if he had just arrived or was leaving, but Elder said it was apparent Whitner threw his car into gear and gassed it trying to get out of the area, as gunfire erupted. 

Sources said several bullets hit Whitner and he was pronounced dead at the scene. Authorities collected evidence, conducted interviews and searched the neighborhood. 

A check of Whitner's past didn't give any insight into why someone might target him, if they did. Whitner didn't have any run-ins with the law. 

His lifelong friend Deloach organized a private vigil Saturday night.

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"Why, why Monte, he didn't do anything to nobody, never had a beef," Deloach said.

The Hennepin County Medical Center deemed the manner of death as a homicide.

Anyone with any information is asked to call CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-8477 and reference case number 18-243130. Those with information may also text their tips to 847411. Enter "MPD," a space, and then the tip information. All tips are anonymous.


Rebecca Omastiak & Beth McDonough

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