MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - A man has been charged with second-degree murder in the shooting and killing a 9-year-old girl in Minneapolis. The charges were unsealed Thursday morning after the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension announced his arrest on Wednesday.
D’Pree Shareef Robinson, 19 of Minneapolis, was taken into custody for the May 15 shooting of Trinity Ottoson-Smith. Police say the 9-year-old was jumping on a trampoline in the backyard of a friend's home on the 2200 block of North Illion Avenue in Minneapolis.
Trinity was rushed to the hospital where she died 12 days later. In an update on Wednesday, investigators say it appears Trinity was "an unintended target of a gang-related drive-by shooting."
"As we said during the Spotlight on Crime news conference last August, families deserve to know who did this to their children." BCA Superintendent Drew Evans said in a statement. "We have worked diligently to achieve justice for Trinity and her family. This is the first step toward achieving that justice."
Trinity Ottoson-Smith passed away last May from her injuries nearly two weeks after she was shot while jumping on a trampoline. (Family)
According to the criminal complaint, the drive-by shooting was captured on surveillance video. Trinity, along with two others, were jumping on a backyard trampoline in the line of fire between the shooter and intended targets, who appeared to be three men on the side porch of the residence. The video shows one of the men chasing the suspect vehicle on foot and appeared to return fire three times, charges state. The gun was recovered in October during the arrest of one of the men present at the shooting.
Investigators determined the suspect vehicle's model and license plate using video surveillance and License Plate Reader technology. The car was purchased three days before the shooting. Robinson's phone activity also matched the same geographical areas of the car. Charges outlined how investigators used Robinson's social media posts to indicate that this was a shooting between rival gang members.
It appears Robinson was targeting a man who was at the Ilion Avenue home at the time of the shooting, according to "threatening" and "aggressive" social media communications reviewed by investigators.
Investigators also determined a romantic relationship between Robinson and the targeted man's sister, stating that they "obviously had a bad break up." Three days before the shooting, the woman accused Robinson of cheating on her and lying to her, according to charges.
About 30 minutes after the deadly shooting of Trinity, Robinson searched how to change the paint on his car three times online before he stopped using the phone forever. The car also appears to have vanished, investigators indicated after an extensive, nationwide search for it.
Charges also describe how several people knew Robinson's role in Trinity's death. Through search warrants executed on Robinson's social media, investigators found a Facebook conversation he had with his girlfriend in June 2021. She was upset after a physical altercation they had and repeatedly called Robinson a "child killer." Investigators also spoke with an individual acquainted with Robinson, who told them Robinson admitted to being present at the murder of Trinity,
Robinson was booked into the Hennepin County Jail. He is expected to appear in court later this week.
‘Justice for Trinity forever:’ Family reacts to arrest of suspect
Trinity's mother, Nicole Ottoson, spoke with FOX 9's Paul Blume shortly after the arrest was announced. She said she's relieved a suspect was arrested and will be held accountable, preventing this happening to another child.
"I do feel a little bit lighter, but I know that this is only step one in this process," Ottoson said. "I'm trying to just kind of take this as my win for the day and this win for Trinity, and stay positive about what will happen next."
"Absolutely it’s mixed emotions, not really celebrating. We’re looking for justice for something that should have never happened in the first place," Trinity’s father Raishawn Smith said of the arrest.
Smith says he heard the news of the arrest Wednesday just after leaving a meeting with Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey talking about policies to support families who have become victims of gun violence. He says he’s continuing to work to get justice and make change in his daughter’s name.
"We’re going to talk about Trinity passed a trial that may or may not happen, whether this is the person or not, it’s still going to be justice for Trinity forever," Smith said.
This is the first arrest in any of the three cases involving children who were shot in the head in north Minneapolis within weeks of one another. Six-year-old Aniya Allen was shot and killed while eating McDonald's in her mom's car on May 17, only two days after Trinity's shooting. Then-10-year-old Ladavionne Garrett Junior was shot in the head while riding in the car with his parents on April 30 and is continuing to recover.
"The whole city should be celebrating," activist K.G. Wilson told FOX 9 after police said they arrested the suspect. He says this gives him hope that police will catch the person who killed his six-year-old granddaughter Aniya Allen.
Family, friends and community members gathered on November 24 to mark what would've been her 10th birthday at her memorial, located on 52nd and 4th Street. At that event, Trinity's grandfather described her as "an absolutely shining light."
"And it's not just Trinity. It's Aniya. It's Ladavionne. And we don't forget Terrell from ten years ago too," Trinity's grandfather Randy Ottoson told FOX 9 in November. "They're all in our prayers, and we think about them all everyday."
This is a developing story and will be updated as new information is available.