According to murder charges filed on Thursday, after a 33-year-old was shot in downtown St. Paul, the suspect fled in his vehicle.
Jesse Willis Gleeson, 32, was charged with two counts of aiding and abetting a murder by the Ramsey County attorney’s office. Prosecutors contend he was present but not responsible for the shooting of Deondrae R. Atkins.
The criminal complaint contains the following prosecutorial information:
Officers and paramedics were sent to the 200 block of West Ninth Street shortly after 2 a.m. on Sunday in response to a report of a man on the ground who was unconscious. Atkins, of St. Paul, was declared dead by paramedics.
Atkins’ trousers pockets had a substantial quantity of cash, and a smartphone and bullet found nearby. Police were informed that Atkins’s Saturn Aura was gone and that he often sold fentanyl tablets from his parked vehicle.
Sunday around 12:15 a.m., surveillance footage revealed that someone parked a Dodge Journey alongside Atkins’ Saturn. A guy, who police say subsequently shot Atkins, exited the front passenger seat of the Dodge and approached the Saturn. Before returning to the Dodge, he seemed to converse with Atkins.
The same individual approached Atkins from the passenger side of the Saturn just before 1:30 a.m. Gleeson left the front seat of the Dodge and positioned himself behind the gunman on the passenger side of the Saturn. Gleeson moved to the rear driver’s side door and attempted to unlock it, but it was locked, according to the complaint. The shooter’s “arm swiftly jerked back and up as though he withdrew a something from his belt.”
Gleeson attempted to open Atkins’ driver’s door, but it didn’t open. Gleeson “reacted as if to a gunshot,” according to the lawsuit.
Atkins then opened the door to his Saturn and went away while bent down. The gunman aimed a pistol at Atkins over the Saturn’s roof.
Gleeson returned to his Dodge and sped away. The gunman entered a Saturn and fled in it.
Atkins crossed the roadway before collapsing. He was located forty minutes later. A gunshot entered Atkins’ right arm, crossed his torso, and exited his left shoulder, as determined by an autopsy.
St. Paul police subsequently discovered Atkin’s Saturn parked in the 200 block of Ravoux Street. The vehicle looked to have been searched. The driver’s seat floorboard had a revolver, Atkin’s wallet was located in the center console, and there were probable fentanyl tablets in the vehicle.
Meanwhile, security footage saw a Dodge entering an underground garage in Oakdale around 2:10 a.m. on Sunday. Wednesday, Gleeson was detained at his residence in the 4900 block of Hamlet Avenue North in Oakdale.
Gleeson informed police that he saw a man he knew as “Skee” who said his friend had marijuana. Gleeson said he wanted to purchase $20 worth. Skee instructed him to enter his friend’s vehicle. Gleeson said that he grasped the doorknob before hearing a gunshot. He said that he did not know who shot, so he returned to his Dodge and fled.
The lawsuit states that investigators informed Gleeson that there were many cameras in the vicinity and that they knew he was lying.
Then Gleeson said “Skee began speaking gibberish,” the lawsuit said. “Skee said that he shot the other man in the leg and stole his vehicle as the victim exited”
One of the murder allegations states the homicide was unintentional and done while performing or trying to commit robbery, assault, and auto theft.
Gleeson informed law enforcement that the event was not a robbery.
As of Thursday afternoon, only Gleeson was under custody, and the matter remained under investigation, according to police.
Tyree Atkins, Deondrae’s cousin, said that he wants justice for him.
He remarked, “He was a buddy, a parent, a brother, a son, and an overall decent guy.”