Charges: 3 hours of terror for 9 victims in Minneapolis, St. Paul

- 3 men and a woman already in jail for the murder of St. Paul woman Sarah Wierstad have been charged in what Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman calls a “night of terror” in the Twin Cities. The suspects are charged with 2 murders, a robbery and a home invasion – all in just a 3-hour span the night of Oct. 18.

“This is one of the most violent rampages I have seen in my nearly 18 years as county attorney,” Freeman said in a statement. “Nine people were terrified that night as they were confronted at gunpoint, and sadly, two people did not survive the encounter. We are working closely with Ramsey County Attorney John Choi to make sure that, if convicted, they spend the rest of their lives in prison.”

The suspects

Alvin Bell, Jr, 25
Isiah Harper, 26
Michelle Koester, 42
Albert McIntosh, 31

All 4 suspects were charged late Friday with aggravated robbery, second-degree murder and first-degree burglary. In addition, Bell was charged with driving a motor vehicle without the owner’s consent and McIntosh was charged with second-degree burglary.

Timeline of Oct. 18 crimes

7:50 p.m. - Wierstad, 24, interrupted a burglary at her Payne-Phalen area home and was shot by McIntosh. A surveillance camera captured the image of a silver Toyota 4Runner and a black Chevy Suburban leaving the area of Wierstad’s home shortly after the report of shots fired.

8:16 p.m. - Video surveillance captured Bell, Harper and Koester at a Holiday gas station in Minneapolis. According to the criminal complaint, Bell used Wierstad’s credit card to pay for gas.

9 p.m. - A man exiting his car behind an apartment building at 2652 Bloomington Ave. S. was approached by 3 men wearing hoods. One of them, identified in the charges as McIntosh, pointed a gun at the man while Bell and Harper stole his wallet, cash and bank card. The 3 suspects then fled in the victim’s white Chevy Impala.

9:22 p.m. - The Toyota 4Runner, Chevy Suburban and stolen Chevy Impala were spotted at the SuperAmerica gas station at 2200 Lyndale Avenue S., where Bell allegedly used the robbery victim’s credit card to pay for gas.

10 p.m. – Minneapolis police were dispatched to 3710 First Ave. S. on a report of shots fired. Upon arrival, officers found 42-year-old Julio Mozo-Cuate lying in the alley with multiple gunshot wounds. He died later that night at the hospital. Witnesses said they saw 3 men arguing with Mozo-Cuate and patting him down. A short time later, they heard gunshots.

11:17 p.m. – Minneapolis police were sent to a home on 19th Ave. S. where 3 men had crashed through the back door, ordering a family of 6 to lie on the floor. One suspect, armed with a short-barreled gun, kept the family on the floor while the others looted the home of credit cards, cash, cell phones, a safe and a PlayStation 3.

Midnight - Bell, Harper and Koester used credit cards from the home invasion and the street robbery to buy items at Wal-Mart in Brooklyn Center, Minn., according to the complaint.

Suspects targeted Latinos

In a police interview on Oct. 23, Harper admitted that all 4 suspects were involved in each of these crimes, although Koester never left the car. He also said that they frequently targeted Latinos for their robberies.

'Chilling' disregard for human life

“Our community is forever altered by this homicidal crime spree that shattered the lives of multiple victims and their loved ones,” Ramsey County Attorney John Choi said in a statement. “The level of violence and complete disregard for human life is chilling. While the prosecutions cannot undo the damage, we will do everything in our power to seek justice for the victims and their families.”

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