Two men pursued a 17-year-old Duluth homicide suspect, with at least one returning fire amid a chaotic scene investigators were still attempting to unravel three days later, according to newly filed court documents and police statements.
Juamada Keller Anderson Jr., 22, was identified as the victim of the Saturday night shooting. His name was revealed in documents filed in State District Court and confirmed by the Midwest Medical Examiner's Office before the Duluth Police Department provided formal identification Tuesday afternoon.
Anderson was shot once in the head after a fight broke out among several people on the 100 block of East Third Street around 7 p.m. Saturday. The suspect, 17-year-old Patrick Wilson Battees Jr., was arrested nearby and charged Monday in juvenile court with intentional second-degree murder.
Arrest warrants were issued Tuesday for two other men who were allegedly involved in what Police Chief Mike Tusken described as a "secondary shooting event."
Documents state that Marcus Seville Morris, 31, and Laurel Larice Ladd Jr., 25, pursued Battees on foot. Video allegedly shows Morris pointing a handgun at the teen and firing off two shots, striking a storage shed, before handing off the weapon to Ladd. Both men left the scene and the gun has not been recovered, according to police reports.
The men's whereabouts were unknown Tuesday. Morris is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm and reckless discharge of a firearm within a municipality. Ladd is accused of aiding an offender.
"In this investigation, there were multiple different cameras that we were able to access that show the events of what happened," Tusken said at a news conference on the steps of City Hall.
"As we were gathering this information on Sunday into Monday and we start to do our analysis, it because apparent to us that there was more than one shooter," he said, explaining why the department delayed the public release of additional details. "The investigation changed from what we believed to be a single victim and a single suspect to multiple suspects."
Asked if authorities had identified a motive for the killing, Tusken said police "have some idea."
"That's one of the factors that I think is going to be probably become illuminated more as this goes on," he said. "For me to tell you would be mere speculation; I'd rather not do that right now. But I think we're going to be able to point to some reason why this happened."
Investigation uncovers 'chaotic' situation
Police reports filed in Battees' case describe officers as encountering a "hostile crowd" and "unruly bystanders" when they first responded to the shooting scene minutes after 7 p.m. Anderson was transported by ambulance to Essentia Health-St. Mary's Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead from a single gunshot wound to the forehead at 9:40 p.m.
Battees was allegedly seen by an eyewitness at Domino's Pizza, 112 E. Second St., running through the area, stopping at one point to crouch behind a van and tuck an apparent handgun into his waistband.
A responding officer found Battees in the alley behind the Wabasha Bookstore, 114 E. First St., and detained him. According to police reports, the suspected murder weapon, a .45-caliber handgun, was discovered in a discarded couch behind Domino's.
Battees declined to provide a statement to investigators, and officers said they had difficulty obtaining accurate and complete statements from witnesses in the area. They conducted a door-to-door canvass and obtained several videos from the area.
Footage reportedly shows a large group of people, with a fight breaking out on the porch of an apartment building at 118 E. Third St. The scrum then moves down to the sidewalk, where Battees is allegedly seen removing a gun from his waistband and firing at Anderson, who falls to the ground, according to police reports.
Citing surveillance video, a police report suggests Battees, while fleeing the scene, fired at Morris, who then returned two shots in a nearby alley. Reports also state that Battees shot toward a crowd of people fleeing through a yard.
Battees, who has amassed several prior felony charges ahead of his 18th birthday next month, continues to be detained at Arrowhead Juvenile Center, with a court arraignment scheduled for June 3. Prosecutors are seeking to have him tried as an adult.
The Proctor teen requires medications for schizophrenia and "can become very erratic" when he has not been taking them consistently, his father told correctional staff, according to an intake report.
Morris, a local boxer known as "Hooch," has prior felony convictions, including for drugs and fleeing police, and is ineligible to possess firearms.
Some witnesses interviewed by police reported hearing up to 14 or 20 total gunshots, according to the reports. No other gunshot victims have been reported by authorities.
While noting there were at least two — or perhaps even three — shooters involved, Tusken declined to elaborate on the sequence of events or disclose the precise number of shots that are believed to have been fired.
In a news release issued about 40 minutes after the shooting, police said they had one suspect in custody and were seeking a second. But a subsequent statement said no additional perpetrators were believed to be involved.
Tusken said heavy rain overnight delayed some of the on-scene work and that it wasn't until later Sunday and into Monday that investigators came to realize there was a second exchange of gunfire, leading to Tuesday's warrants for Morris and Ladd.
"These situations are quite chaotic," he said. "There's a lot of resources there; there's a lot of information coming our direction. We are giving statements that are based upon the best information we have at the time. In this case, was it erroneous? Yes. But we absolutely wanted to get it out there for two reasons: to make sure there was public safety and because we wanted to prevent fear."
Another victim of gun violence
Meanwhile, a memorial has sprung up at the shooting scene, where a fluctuating number of Anderson's family and friends has gathered in recent days to pay tribute to a man best known by nickname "Lil Moe."
Adena Watson, a cousin of the victim, had been standing there for a several hours already by early Tuesday afternoon.
“That’s how we honor him,” Watson said, standing next to a friend and another cousin of Anderson’s.
Cups of coffee and soda as well as a box of takeout food sat next to candles, along with bouquets of flowers. Balloons decorated the tree across the street.
Asked how she will remember her cousin, Shalya Cornell said: “His smile, his walk, his jokes.”
A GoFundMe page started on behalf of Anderson's mother to pay for funeral expenses had raised more than $4,000 as of Tuesday night.
"He will be missed and was loved by so many," organizer Aliyah Johnson wrote. "We are grateful for all and any donations to make sure her son rests the right way."
Tusken said the police department was increasing patrols in the affected area and engaging community officers to conduct "knock-and-talks" in the neighborhood. He offered his sympathies to Anderson's family.
"The fact of the matter is that this young man with his entire life in front of him was gunned down on the streets of Duluth," the chief said. "It shocks all of our conscience when we see people die violently in our streets."
While Saturday's homicide was the city's first in 2021, it was the 14th shooting or gunfire incident reported this year. That comes on the heels of a record-setting 2020, which included 41 such incidents — though none resulted in a fatality.
Tusken vowed to continue efforts to crack down on illegal firearms, which he said continue to be widely available to convicted felons and juveniles who are not authorized to possess the weapons.
"That's why it's so important for all of us to engage," he said. "If you're aware of suspicious activity, or aware of people who are having possession of firearms, let us know.
"We take dozens and dozens of guns off the street every year through our violent crimes task force. We have a partnership with the (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives). It is among our top priorities to intercept and intervene before there has been violence. But, despite our best efforts, we have gun violence like many other cities in America. The police are a large part of the solution, but ultimately, the strength of our city, the safety of our city, will always be the people that we police with."
Anyone with information is asked to call the Violent Crimes Unit at 218-730-5300.
News Tribune staff writer Andee Erickson contributed to this report.
This has been updated multiple times with additional information, the most recent at 8:05 p.m. May 25. It was originally posted at 11:21 a.m. May 25.