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Minneapolis police make arrests in killing of 11-year-old
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Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak; Linda Winborn, the mother of Tyesha Edwards and Inspector Sharon Lubinski of the 3rd Precinct discuss the arrests of three men in the shooting death of the 11-year-old girl. (MPR Photo/Art Hughes)
The Hennepin County Attorney's office is charging three men with first degree murder in the shooting death last week of 11-year-old Tyesha Edwards. Law enforcement officials say the three are gang members. Bail for each suspect has been set at $1 million.

Minneapolis, Minn. — Tyesha Edwards was the unintended victim of a drive-by shooting next to her south Minneapolis home. She was doing homework in her dining room when a bullet penetrated an outer wall and struck her.

Police Chief Robert Olson says investigators zeroed in on finding the intended target of that shooting as a way to find the shooter. He says the break in the case came from another drive-by shooting three days later.

"Our Third Precinct officers were very alert, moved in on that situation and were able to grab a vehicle with some people in it. And through that we were able to find the intended target. This clearly helped us a lot and got our investigation moving forward," Olson said.

Olson won't identify the intended victim for his own safety, but says he was a target in the second drive-by shooting in which one person was wounded. Olson credits good police work for capitalizing on tips from the public and various police sources.

"We are really, really gratified at the fact that through the cooperation of the community, the help from the family, the help from other agencies, the coming together of the Minneapolis community, we were able to make something that, frankly, at the beginning of this investigation all indications were this was going to be a tough one to solve," he said.

In the complaint charging the suspects, the intended target in the shooting is identified as Witness A. There's another unidentified witness who saw at least two of the suspects in a car together. One of the suspects has also implicated the other two in statements to police. The three suspects got a gun from a fourth person who also isn't identified and, presumably, is not in custody.

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Image Announcing arrests

The shooting stems from an ongoing gang feud, but an angry Olson refuses to name the gangs, saying it only gives them publicity.

"Suffice it to say this specific thing involves some folks with gang motives that, as I said earlier, clearly, absolutely, senseless for this kind of activity. But I'm not even going to mention any name and give them recognition publicly," Olson said.

Hennepin County Attorney Amy Klobuchar charged Hans Williams, 25; Isaiah Tyson, 23, and Myon Burrell, 17, with first-degree murder.

"Burrel, Tyson and Williams are believed to be gang members. Last Friday they drove by a person they thought was a member of a rival gang just north of Tyesha Edwards home. They went and got a gun and came back. Tyson and Burrell jumped out of the car and ran between the houses through the yards of the neighborhood. Then Burrell began firing his gun at the intended target," she said.

Klobuchar says first degree charges are appropriate even though Edwards wasn't targeted.

"Minnesota law allows charging of first-degree murder in cases like this when a person fires shots from a car or just after they leave a car. Also the murder charges do not require the victim be the person they intended to kill. Instead when you intend to kill someone, that intent follows the bullet," Klobuchar said.

The arrests bring a measure of relief for Edwards' family and others. Mayor R.T. Rybak gives credit to the police department for bringing together a tough case. "In those first horrible few minutes at the hospital, I turned to the family and said they should focus all their energy on healing their family because an entire community was outraged and would bring them justice. And I'm so proud to say we were able to deliver on that," he said.

Tyesha Edwards' mother, Linda Winborn, also expressed her gratitude to police and to the many people who gave her comfort since Friday's shooting.

"It's just been overwhelming the amount of positive support from the whole community; you know, from all over and it's just been great. And I wanted to say thank you so much for bringing some justice for my daughter. And that's what I want is justice for Tyesha," she said.

All three suspects are expected to make their first court appearances on Monday.

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