Charges: Customer trying to stop shoplifter killed at St. Paul liquor store

A customer who tried to intervene with a shoplifter at a St. Paul liquor store was shot and killed with his own gun during a struggle with the suspect last week, a criminal complaint filed on Monday details.

The suspect, identified on Monday as 49-year-old Trinis Derrell Edwards, is charged with murder for the deadly shooting at Big Discount Liquor on December 27.

Employees at the liquor store on Rice Street said Edwards had been in the store before when he was short of money. On the date in question, workers said Edwards had shown up and gotten into an argument with another customer, the victim, Kenneth Davis Jr.

Workers told police that Davis was protective of the store. Davis accused Edwards of concealing a bottle of vodka and took the bottle from him and demanded Edwards leave the store.

According to the charges, Edwards said he had a gun and started digging through his backpack. But, as it turned out, Davis was carrying a weapon himself, telling the victim that he had a "license" and "displayed" the weapon.

Police say surveillance video showed the two men move out to the parking lot where they started fighting. The charges state:

"Edwards and [Davis] eventually went to the sidewalk outside the store. Edwards appeared to threaten [Davis] with pepper spray, and the two men got into a heated exchange. Edwards grabbed [Davis'] shoulders. KD tried to remove his handgun from his jacket while wrestling with Edwards. [Davis'] handgun fell to the ground. When KD reached to retrieve the gun, Edwards pushed [Davis] away from the gun into the parking lot."

With the gun on the ground. Edwards was able to pick it up and shoot Davis twice, the charges state.

Before the shooting, police say Edwards was with a woman who left the store before shots were fired. Officers were able to identify the woman and later learned the pair had been staying at a hotel on Old Hudson Road in St. Paul. Officers say they had to call in a SWAT team to arrest Edwards.

Edwards declined an interview with officers but his girlfriend spoke with police saying Edwards had admitted to her that he had been involved in a shooting.

In the hotel room, they found two vodka bottles that matched the brand of the bottle taken from the suspect at the liquor store.

Edwards is being held in Ramsey County Jail.