Charges: St. Paul man shot 19-year-old mother while holding baby

A 21-year-old St. Paul man has been charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of a 19-year-old mother over the weekend, and according to charges, he was holding their baby girl when the shooting occurred.

At about 3:40 a.m. on Easter Sunday, the victim's sibling called police to report a shooting on the 800 block of Pierce Butler Route, charges said. The shooter was later identified as Dimitri Devonte Harrell, and the caller initially told police he was still in the apartment but then said he fled the scene. After speaking to Harrell's father, police negotiated to meet and arrest him that day.

The victim has been identified as 19-year-old Samirria White, a graduate from Humboldt High School in St. Paul. Her family identified Harrell as her boyfriend of 5 or 6 years and the father of the 3-month-old baby girl. Harrell told police he was holding the baby when White was shot.

Harrell said he accidentally shot White when he tried to pull his gun from his pocket while holding the baby. He first said she was angry and hitting him, but later said "she really didn't hit" him, and claimed he never raised the gun above his waist. He also said he didn't see where she was struck.

Police, citing forensic evidence, believe the gun was fired within a few inches of White's face. Harrell said his infidelity caused trust issues in his relationship with White, which the complaint indicates was faltering at the time of the shooting. Several family members in the apartment at the time of the shooting told police they heard the pair fighting in a bedroom before hearing the gun go off.

Harrell was convicted of first-degree burglary in Ramsey County in 2012. A first-degree assault charge that was part of that burglary was dropped.

5th domestic violence homicide of 2015

According to the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women, White is the fifth-known domestic violence homicide victim of 2015 in Minnesota.
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