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Suspect arrested in homicide case that led to police fatally shooting Amir Locke is his cousin

The suspect, a 17-year-old, was arrested Monday afternoon in Winona, Minnesota, and confirmed by Locke's family to be his cousin.

A suspect sought in the homicide case that led to police fatally shooting Amir Locke has been arrested and confirmed by relatives to be Locke's cousin.

The suspect, a 17-year-old whom NBC News is not naming because he is a minor, was arrested Monday around 3:45 p.m. in Winona, Minnesota, in connection with the Jan. 10 fatal shooting of Otis Elder, St. Paul police said.

The department confirmed Tuesday that the suspect is related to the no-knock warrant served at a Minneapolis apartment last week that resulted in a SWAT officer killing Locke.

"We can confirm that the charged teenager is Amir Locke's cousin," attorneys for Locke's family said in a statement Tuesday.

"His cousin was not present in Unit 701, where the no-knock warrant and Amir were both executed," the statement said. "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," it said.

Locke was not named on that warrant, served out by the Minneapolis Police Department, authorities previously said. That warrant was related to the St. Paul homicide investigation.

Locke, 22, was fatally shot when officers stormed in and found him on the couch covered in a blanket. Minneapolis police said the officer opened fire after seeing the barrel of a gun come into view from under the blanket.

The homicide suspect was booked in the Ramsey County Juvenile Detention Center on a charge of second-degree murder, police said.

"The search warrants related to the case will likely be unsealed after charges have been filed," St. Paul police said. 

Ramsey County Attorney's Office spokesperson Dennis Gerhardstein said that the office filed a petition Tuesday against the suspect for two counts of second-degree murder in connection with the shooting of Elder. 

Prosecutors will file a petition to have him stand trial as an adult, he added.

The warrants have come under a spotlight following Locke's death.

A St. Paul police spokesperson said in a statement Friday that the department had asked Minneapolis police to serve three warrants at a Minneapolis apartment complex that had been signed by a judge.

"Each agency has its own protocols and policies for serving search warrants," the spokesperson said. "The agency responsible for serving the warrant determines what tactics that will be used."

It was later revealed that Judge Peter Cahill, the Minneapolis judge who presided over Derek Chauvin's state murder trial, was on duty when the warrant was signed, meaning he would have reviewed and signed off on applications for search warrants.

Locke's death has sparked outrage in Minneapolis, the city where George Floyd was killed by Chauvin, then a Minneapolis police officer, in 2020, and reignited criticism over the use of force and no-knock warrants. 

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey on Friday ordered an immediate halt to no-knock warrants.

Locke's parents have called his death an execution, noting he had no criminal record and comes from a family with law enforcement ties.

They said Locke was a deep sleeper and was startled when the SWAT team stormed into the apartment and an officer kicked the couch he was sleeping on. They said he reached for a legal firearm to protect himself. 

They have retained as part of their legal team civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who represented the family of Breonna Taylor, 26, a Black medical worker who was fatally shot by police in Louisville, Kentucky, in March 2020 during a no-knock raid on her apartment.

"This is yet another example of why we need to put an end to these kinds of search warrants so that one day, Black Americans will be able to sleep safely in their beds at night," Crump said on Locke's death.

The officer who shot Locke was identified as Mark Hanneman, who is on paid administrative leave in accordance with department policy.  

More than a thousand students participated in a statewide walkout and march Tuesday afternoon in Minnesota. 

Jerome Treadwell, 17, who attends Highland Park Senior High School in St. Paul, and Nyagach Kueth, 17, a student at Washburn High School in Minneapolis, are co-founders of the advocacy group MN Teen Activists, which organized the event with the Black Student Union at Central High School in Minneapolis.

"We want to make sure that our audience understands this is affecting us emotionally and mentally," Treadwell said in an interview Tuesday morning. "Amir Locke could be one of us."

They marched to the governor's mansion to convey a list of the group's demands, including the resignations of Frey and interim Minneapolis Police Chief Amelia Huffman, the firing of Hanneman and a ban on no-knock warrants.

A spokesperson for Frey did not return requests for comment. A spokesman for the police department declined to comment.

In April, 50,000 students from more than 110 schools in the state participated in a walkout in honor of Daunte Wright, Kueth and Treadwell said. 

"We know that the mobilization and amplifying of youth voices is so important," Treadwell said. "We want to make sure that we can come together because we're stronger together."

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, whose office prosecuted Chauvin and Kim Potter, a white former Brooklyn Center police officer found guilty of manslaughter in the death of Wright, a Black motorist, said his office would join a review of the shooting of Locke.