Mekhi Speed is a 17-year-old Minnesota teen who is accused of homicide in a case connected to the no-knock search warrant that led to the police shooting death of his cousin Amir Locke.
Locke’s death – he was shot within nine seconds of officers barging into the apartment where he was sleeping on a sofa – has sparked protests and controversy, especially over no-knock search warrants. Locke had a gun, but he was legally authorized to carry it as he had a permit and no criminal record, and he was not a target of the search warrant, according to CBS Minnesota. Speed, the target, was not present in the apartment when Locke died, but he had used it recently, charging documents say.
Locke was planning to move to Dallas to start a music career, the Huffington Post reported, adding that he also had family members in law enforcement and the military, was a deep sleeper, and had the gun for protection because he worked for a food delivery service. The shooting of Amir Locke was captured on a graphic police body cam video.
In contrast, Speed, despite his young age, was already on probation for a shooting, is now accused of a murder, and filled his Facebook pages to gang references (such as the Crips). One of his Facebook pages contained several photos of young men holding guns (although it could not be verified whether he is one of those in the gun-related photos) and calls him “Lì Mênaće.” One March 2020 post read, “F*** 12,” which is slang for the police. In 2019, he wrote, “Me n my Twin Glocc finn giv yaw hell.” Some posts showed him with large wads of cash, including when he would have been only 14 years old. Here is one photo posted to his Facebook page:
St. Paul police wrote on Twitter on February 8, 2022, “An arrest has been made in the homicide investigation related to the death of Otis Elder, who was shot and killed on the 500 block of N. Prior Ave. on January 10.” The suspect’s full name is Mekhi Camden Speed.
You can read the charging documents against Speed here.
They identify Speed as Locke’s cousin and provide details about why authorities targeted that apartment. Locke was not a target of the search warrant.
Protests have erupted over Locke’s death. According to NPR, Locke was shot and killed by Minneapolis Police Officer Mark Hanneman. Locke’s mother says he was on a sleepover when shot. Police say he pointed a gun at the officer, but the family says it happened too quickly for Locke to perceive what was going on.
Amir Locke’s father Andre Locke and his mother Karen Wells have spoken publicly. According to the Associated Press, they said Locke was respectful to all including police. “My son was executed on 2/2 of 22,” Wells said, according to AP. “And now his dreams have been destroyed.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Speed, Who Posted Photos of Guns on Facebook, Was Arrested by a Violent Crime Enforcement Team
According to St. Paul police, “A 17-year-old male was arrested at about 3:45 p.m. yesterday in Winona, Minn., by the Southeast Metro Task Force, the Ramsey County Violent Crime Enforcement Team and members of the SPPD Special Investigations Unit.”
They noted, “This arrest is related to the search warrants that were served last week in Minneapolis. The search warrants related to case will likely be unsealed after charges have been filed.”
The charging document was filed against Mekhi Camden Speed in Ramsey County Juvenile Court. The state moved the court for an order certifying that Speed would be prosecuted in adult court.
“On or about January 10, 2022, in the County of Ramsey, Minnesota, Mekhi Camden Speed, aiding and abetting and being aided and abetted by another, did cause the death of O.R.E., Jr. with intent to effect the death of O.R.E., Jr. and he or an accomplice possessed a firearm,” the documents say. He is accused of murder in the second-degree both with intent and without intent.
“I want more time to talk to my family and my attorney,” said Speed, at a court hearing, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, which identified his mother as Cheryl Locke.
The charging documents allege that:
At 9:32 p.m. on January 10, 2022, St. Paul officers and medics responded to an address on Prior Avenue, St. Paul, Ramsey County “on a report of a male on the ground who had been shot. The male was transported to Regions Hospital. He was declared deceased at 10:04 p.m. This male was identified as Otis Rodney Elder, DOB 4/3/1983 (38).
Officers secured and processed the scene. The documents say that Elder “was found near a 2001 Chevrolet Tahoe. The driver’s side door on the Tahoe was open and there was loose cash and suspected marijuana in the front of the vehicle. There was a large amount of blood on the driver’s seat, driver’s door and arm rest. There was blood spatter on the passenger seat. There was a spent shell casing on the ground near the driver’s door.
The document continues:
Officers spoke with a witness at the scene who was upset and stated he was Elder’s best friend. The witness stated he and Elder had arrived at the address where the shooting took place around 8:20 p.m. The witness stated he went inside a nearby business and Elder stayed outside in his car. The witness heard a loud gunshot and ran outside. The witness stated he did not know who would have shot Elder as Elder lived in Minneapolis with his young child and did not have a problem with anyone. This witness then told investigators that another friend of theirs saw a male standing outside of Elder’s vehicle. This friend saw the male standing outside of the vehicle shoot Elder.
Here’s another gun photo on one of Speed’s Facebook pages:
In 2020, he wrote, “Dead homies u play w my wrap u gon die.”
2. Charging Documents Say Elder Was Conducting a Drug Transaction When Shot, Per a Witness
The charging documents contain a description of how the homicide unfolded.
Officers were notified of a witness who had been talking to Elder on the phone at the time of the shooting. The man told officers that it sounded as if Elder was conducting a drug transaction and that someone was sitting in the front seat of Elder’s car. The witness had heard Elder state, ‘you can sit in front.’ The witness heard what sounded like a struggle. The witness heard a male state, ‘If you do not give it up, pop the ‘******.’ The phone call then abruptly ended. The witness believed whoever shot Elder took Elder’s phone because the witness kept trying to call the phone after and it went to voicemail.
On January 11, 2022, the Ramsey County Medical Examiner conducted an autopsy. Dr. Mills noted Elder had a gunshot wound to his right lower back/upper buttock. The gunshot resulted in hemorrhage of the bladder and pancreas and contusion of the large bowel. Dr. Mills found that the cause of Elder’s death was exsanguination due to gunshot wound. The manner of Elder’s death was homicide.
On January 12, 2022, an investigator spoke with a witness. This witness told officers that he had been with Elder prior to the shooting. This male stated that after he left Elder, he observed a male standing outside of the driver’s side door holding a gun and it appeared this male had shot Elder while another male was sitting in the front passenger seat of Elder’s vehicle. This witness advised that he was scared so he drove away in his own car. This witness then observed a silver Mercedes-Benz speed away at a high rate of speed and through a stop
light without stopping.
Investigators suspected the Mercedes-Benz was a vehicle that had been used in numerous prior crimes. The silver Mercedes-Benz was distinct in that it had front end damage and a lit front emblem. It had been stolen on November 27, 2021. This Mercedes-Benz (MA 9AD213) had been (1) used in an armed robbery on December 6, 2021; (2) a suspect vehicle in an armed robbery on December 28, 2021; (3) a suspect vehicle in an attempted armed robbery on December 28, 2021; (4) involved in another gun possession report on December 28, 2021; (5) involved in a police pursuit on December 28, 2021; and (6) a suspect vehicle in a theft on January 4, 2022.
On January 21, 2022, a Minneapolis Police officer observed the stolen Mercedes-Benz (MA 9AD213) in the Leamington parking ramp in Minneapolis. St. Paul investigators recovered the vehicle. Investigators observed that the inside of the vehicle had been sprayed with a white and yellow powder that appeared to be substance from a fire extinguisher.
On January 22, 2022, investigators obtained videos of the stolen Mercedes-Benz being left at the Leamington ramp on January 11, 2022 where it had remained until it had been found on January 21, 2022. The video showed that the vehicle had been driven into the Leamington ramp four hours after Elder’s murder at 12:49 a.m. on January 11, 2022. The video showed four males got out of the vehicle and took items out of the trunk. One of the males went back into the vehicle. The four males left the vehicle in the ramp. One male carried a large black duffle bag with a white logo.
On January 22, 2022, an investigator obtained a video of the murder of Otis Elder. In the video, a light-colored vehicle, later determined to be the Mercedes-Benz (MA 9AD213), parked near Elder’s vehicle at 9:20 p.m. Two males exited the Mercedes-Benz and approached Elder’s vehicle. One male entered the passenger side of Elder’s vehicle. The other male approached the driver’s side and stood outside of the driver’s door where Elder was sitting. This male stepped back and a loud gunshot was heard. The male standing outside of Elder’s door opened the driver’s side door and picked up items from the ground and from inside of Elder’s vehicle. The passenger side door opened and the other male got out of the vehicle. Both males ran towards the Mercedes-Benz. When the video was enhanced, investigators could see that the male who fired into the vehicle wore a dark jacket and light-colored hooded sweatshirt and white shoes. This male got into the passenger seat of the Mercedes-Benz. The second male got into the driver’s seat of the Mercedes-Benz.
From January 10-23, 2022, investigators obtained and reviewed CCTV MNDOT camera video recordings of the Mercedes-Benz (MA 9AD213) after it left the scene of the murder on January 10, 2022. Investigators tracked the Mercedes-Benz after it sped away from the scene to the Bolero Flats, an apartment building in Minneapolis. At 9:38 p.m., the Mercedes-Benz pulled up to the Bolero Flats and parked. In response to a squad’s presence, the Mercedes-Benz left but returned again at 10:16 p.m. At 10:16 p.m., the Mercedez-Benz entered a parking ramp adjacent to the Bolero Flats. Investigators obtained video of three males that exited the Mercedes-Benz and went into the Bolero Flats apartment building. Two of the males appeared to be the two males at the scene of the murder as they looked similar and wore the same clothing that could be seen on the enhanced video of the murder. The male suspected of shooting Elder still wore a dark jacket and light-colored hooded sweatshirt and white shoes. This same suspect appeared to have an item in the front pocket of his sweatshirt that he concealed as he left the Mercedes-Benz and went into the Bolero Flats. The male in the light- colored hooded sweatshirt used a key FOB to get into the Bolero Flats.
3. Authorities Say Mekhi Speed, Who Was on Probation for Another Shooting, Recently Used a Key Fob to Enter the Apartment Where Locke Was Shot; Speed’s Brother’s Girlfriend Was the Registered Occupant of the Apartment
According to the Star-Tribune, Speed was “on supervised probation in Hennepin County for shooting a teenager in the leg outside a Brooklyn Park gas station in September of 2020.”
He was given extended juvenile jurisdiction in that case by Judge Shereen Askalani and told to participate in trauma therapy and “undergo a psychological assessment.” He was released “to his mother on electronic home monitoring, with furloughs for school, in October 2021,” the newspaper reported.
Locke’s family said in a statement, to CNN, that Speed was not inside the apartment when the no-knock search warrant was executed, saying, “All available information confirms that Amir was never a target of that investigation or those search warrants. We must remain focused on the fact that Amir was an innocent young man of a raid gone terribly gone, who is now the latest statistic and victim of the dangerous and intrusive no-knock warrant techniques that must be banned.”
The charging document describes the search warrant that led to the death of Amir Locke. It alleges:
On January 24, 2022, investigators met with witnesses at the Bolero Flats. Witnesses identified the male in the video who exited the stolen Mercedes-Benz and used a key FOB to get into the Bolero Flats on January 10, 2022 after the murder as MEKHI CAMDEN SPEED, DOB 3/11/2004 (17). Staff at the Bolero Flats advised investigators that Speed was listed as an occupant with his mother for apartment 1402. Speed also had a key FOB for apartment 701 as Speed’s brother lived in apartment 701.
As investigators were at the building, Speed was recorded using the key FOB for apartment 701 to leave the building. Investigators were also advised that a person who returned to the Bolero Flats with Speed on January 10, 2022 was associated with apartment 1403. On January 24, 2022, investigators spoke with a Hennepin County official. This official stated that he was familiar with Mekhi Speed because he was on probation. Speed reported his address to probation as the Bolero Flats apartment 1402. The official identified Speed in the video from the Bolero Flats after the murder.
On January 24, 2022, investigators compared the video of Mekhi Speed from the Bolero Flats to the video of the group leaving the stolen Mercedes-Benz at the Leamington parking ramp on January 11, 2022 approximately four hours after the murder. Speed was in the video at the Leamington parking ramp. He exited the front passenger seat of the Mercedes-Benz and left with the group. Speed wore a Canada Goose black jacket with fur, a black winter facemask over his face, a white or grey hooded sweatshirt, black pants and white shoes. Speed brushed a substance (suspected fire extinguisher substance) off his jacket.
As of February 2, 2022, the St. Paul and Minneapolis Police Departments had search warrants that authorized the search of three apartments at the Bolero Flats. Minneapolis and St. Paul officers also had ‘probable cause pick up and holds’ to arrest Mekhi Speed and two of his associates for murder and aiding an offender after the fact. The search warrants authorized the search of apartments 701, 1402 and 1403.
In the early morning of February 2, 2022, officers executed the warrant at apartment 701. Mekhi Speed’s brother’s girlfriend was the registered occupant of apartment 701. Mekhi Speed’s brother also stayed at the apartment. Police and fire had been to the apartment on numerous occasions in the past. Mekhi Speed had been present in apartment 701 as recent as January 2022 during one of the calls.
According to records from the Bolero Flats, Speed had used a key FOB for apartment 701 to access and leave the Bolero Flats. Speed’s
brother, his girlfriend and A.L. (Speed’s cousin [shot during execution of the warrant and now deceased]) were present when the warrant was executed. Investigators seized a black Canada Goose jacket with fur that appeared to be the jacket worn by Speed after leaving the stolen Mercedes-Benz at the Leamington parking ramp on January 11, 2022. Officers also recovered a bullet, a gun in A.L.’s possession and marijuana from the apartment.
In the early morning of February 2, 2022, officers executed the warrant at apartment 1402. Mekhi Speed and his mother, C.L., were listed as residents of apartment 1402. Neither were present when the warrant was executed. Investigators seized a black hat that matched the hat worn by Speed when he returned to the Bolero Flats on January 10, 2022 after the murder. Investigators seized a black duffle bag with a white logo that appeared to be the bag carried by a person with Speed when the Mercedes-Benz was left at the Leamington ramp. Investigators seized tennis shoes similar to those worn by the person carrying the black duffle bag. Investigators seized a dark blue Tommy Hilfiger jacket. This jacket appeared to be the same jacket worn by an unidentified male who was with Mekhi Speed when he returned to the Bolero Flats after the murder. Investigators suspect this unidentified male was the second person at the scene of the murder who sat in the front passenger seat of Elder’s vehicle. This same unidentified male was with Speed and again wore a dark blue Tommy Hilfiger jacket when the stolen Mercedes-Benz was left at the Leamington parking ramp. Investigators also seized pants that appeared to be the same pants that this unidentified person wore when he returned to the Bolero Flats after the murder and when the stolen Mercedes-Benz was left at the Leamington parking ramp.
In the early morning of February 2, 2022, officers executed the warrant at apartment 1403. Mekhi Speed’s friend was associated with apartment 1403. He was not present but another male was present when the warrant was executed. Investigators seized a large amount of marijuana from apartment 1403. On February 6, 2022, the St. Paul Police Department Forensic Unit issued a report that stated a latent print lifted from the exterior right front door of the Mercedes-Benz was identified as having been made by the right middle finger of Mekhi Speed.
From January 24-February 6, 2022, many law enforcement officers attempted to locate Mekhi Speed. Officers surveilled his residence and other locations he was known to frequent, contacted his mother multiple times, contacted his probation officer and attempted to use other tracking information. On February 6, 2022, officers located Speed in Winona, Minnesota. When officers approached Speed, he attempted to run away. An officer grabbed Speed’s jacket. Speed struggled out of his jacket but was stopped and arrested. Officers searched
Speed’s jacket. Speed had a loaded gun in his jacket. Speed was arrested and transported to the Ramsey County Juvenile Detention Center. Speed refused to speak with investigators. St. Paul investigators noted that Speed wore a black jacket at the time of his arrest. The jacket appeared to be the same jacket worn by the person in the videos of the shooting and returning to the Bolero Flats after the murder.
4. Authorities Have Released Body Cam Video That Shows an Officer Shooting Locke
The body cam video shows the shooting of Amir Locke. The video initially shows an officer put a key in the door.
Officers then enter the apartment. They approach the sofa and kick it. You see a man, later identified as Locke, under a blanket on the couch. He rises slightly, and an officer opens fire.
He is holding a gun.
“Amir Locke’s life mattered,” Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said in a statement to NPR. “He was only 22 years old and had his whole life ahead of him.”
Minneapolis Police Officers Federation released a statement to CNN. It read in part, “Officers were obviously prepared for a very dangerous and high-risk situation. During the event, as shown in the body-camera footage, Officer Hanneman quickly encountered Mr. Locke who was armed with a handgun and made the decision to use deadly force.”
The statement continues, “No officer goes into a dangerous setting like this wanting to use a weapon. That decision was not taken lightly, and the impact of the use of deadly force will affect these officers, their families, and the family of Mr. Locke for the rest of their lives
However, Mayor Jacob Frey has installed a moratorium on no-knock search warrants. His news release said in part:
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has imposed a moratorium on both the request and execution of no-knock warrants in the City of Minneapolis. While the moratorium is in place, the mayor and MPD leadership will work with national experts DeRay McKesson and Dr. Pete Kraska of Eastern Kentucky University to review and suggest revisions to the department’s policy. McKesson and Kraska helped shape Breonna’s Law in Louisville and have spearheaded significant reforms to unannounced entry policies associated with no-knock warrants in states across the country.
“No matter what information comes to light, it won’t change the fact that Amir Locke’s life was cut short,” said Frey in the news release. “To ensure safety of both the public and officers until a new policy is crafted, I’m issuing a moratorium on both the request and execution of such warrants in Minneapolis. I am grateful that Mr. McKesson and Dr. Kraska have agreed to assess our current policy and lend their expertise to further revisions.”
According to AP, police said that Locke pointed a loaded gun “in the direction of officers.”
“Mr. Locke did what many of us might do in the same confusing circumstances, he reached for a legal means of self-defense while he sought to understand what was happening,” said Rob Doar, a spokesman for the Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus, to the AP.
5. People Expressed Grief Over Elder’s Death on Facebook
A woman wrote on Facebook, “Im sorry😭😭I love my peoples factz I notice after standing at the coffin of a loved one made me see i do not do good with funeral’s anymore🙏 #OTISELDER😭.”
A man wrote, “I lost my childhood friend the other night! RIP Otis Elder Jr! Funniest dude I’ve ever met! I’m super hurt! Ya Dad was crazy A-1 in the hood! I love you Bro!!!”
“That little boy stole my brother’s life,” his sister, Motika Elder, told the Star Tribune. “He never did nothing wrong to anyone. There was no reason for him to be killed.”
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