Hennepin Co. Sheriff adding more patrols in downtown Minneapolis

There will be more eyes and ears in downtown Minneapolis this summer as the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office along with Minneapolis Police and Metro Transit are teaming up to fight crime.

The announcement comes on the heels of a fatal weekend stabbing just outside the Theater District that could be just the beginning of an uptick in summer crime.

Police say Mesheka Willis was stabbed and killed on the 800 block of Hennepin Avenue Saturday night after an argument with a 39-year-old woman. Friends say the dispute was likely over drugs. They tell us Willis had struggled with addiction for years but had recently been sober.

“I tried to call her back on that night but I guess, apparently, she had already went into her relapse,” said Antoinette Lurks, victim’s friend.

It’s exactly that kind of crime the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office hopes to stop by adding four deputies to the efforts of Minneapolis Police and Metro Transit starting Tuesday.

“Things going on in parking ramps... to fights, unfortunately stabbings, shootings - every level of crime down here our officers can respond to again with Minneapolis and Metro Transit,” said Lt. Mike Jerde, Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office.

It’s not just about responding to crime, but trying to prevent it.

“A big part of this is walking around, checking in with business owners and just extra sets of eyes and uniformed personnel,” said Lt. Jerde.

But it’s too late for Mesheka Willis, a woman who Antoinette Lurks will surely miss. “Your loving, kind heart, your fighting strength, and I’m just going to miss you,” she said.

There is a suspect in custody for the stabbing. She has not been charged just yet, but will likely make her first court appearance sometime Wednesday.

A friend of Mesheka Willis has started a GoFundMe campaign to assist with funeral and memorial costs. You can donate at https://www.gofundme.com/remembering-mesheka-willis.