Michael Brasel killing: 2nd person charged in shooting of St. Paul man

A second teen is now facing charges in the deadly shooting of a St. Paul dad who attempted to stop the theft of a vehicle in front of his home.

Ta Mla, 18, of St. Paul is charged with second-degree murder for his role in the shooting death.

According to charges, Mla is believed to be the driver of the black sedan that sped off at a "high rate of speed" following the shooting, as well as, being involved in the robbery attempt, and the one who potentially provided the murder weapon. Police were ultimately able to identify the owner and driver of the vehicle as Mla through previous incidents with police in both April and May, as well as, data linked to his phone and neighborhood footage.

On May 6, the St. Paul Police Department were called to the 2300 block of Chilcombe Avenue shortly before 7:30 a.m. on a report of someone being shot. When officers arrived at scene, they found Brasel on the ground suffering from multiple gunshot wounds.

On May 8, investigators executed a search warrant for user data on a phone, during which analysis showed the phone associated with Mla through the location of the previous traffic stops. It also placed the phone near 2334 Chilcombe Avenue at the time of the murder, according to charges.

Data also showed the phone leaving the area of the crime scene heading north on Eustis Street and east on Roselawn Avenue, heading in the direction where the black sedan went following the shooting, subsequently losing its bumper when it ran up on a curb.

Further investigation showed that Mla paid for scooter rentals later that morning using the Cash App on the phone, entering the name of "Za Za" as the person using them. Ta Mla’s Facebook account name is Za Za, according to police.

On May 10, police executed a search warrant at Mla’s home, during which he fled from the back through a window. He was later arrested, with the keys to the black sedan used during the murder in his pocket. The car was found parked in the garage at his home, with a missing bumper, according to police.

During interviews, both of Mla’s parents confirmed the cellphone number identified by police, which was found to have been at the murder scene, as his, according to charges.

Police say that on May 25, Mla told police he had shot himself, but he refused to say where the incident took place and claimed to have thrown the gun in the river. Previous text messages also indicated his involvement in the purchase of a Glock handgun.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) analyzed three bullets recovered from the crime scene, one from Brasel’s body, one from his address, and another from 1364 Keston Street. The three bullets were identified as having been fired by the same firearm, with one being consistent with .380 automatic caliber cartridges. The handgun that fired the bullets was identified as possibly a Glock.

On June 6, officers stopped a Ford Escape in which Mla was in the front seat passenger. He was arrested, and police found a .380 caliber magazine on the front passenger seat, plus a Glock 42 – a .380 caliber handgun – under the front passenger seat where Mla exited the car, according to charges.

According to police, after being advised of his rights Mla agreed to speak with investigators, saying that morning he and another were out to "car shop" – a common reference to stealing car items – when "the big dude [Michael Brasel] surprised him [Mla] and grabbed him from behind."

He claimed to have heard "one or two shots," when he then drove off, later hitting the curb and losing the car’s bumper without knowing.

Police say Mla claims that the other person shot Brasel, reportedly saying, "my bad, bro. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to."

Previously Ramsey County prosecutors charged a 17-year-old with aiding and abetting intentional second-degree murder, and aiding and abetting second-degree murder while committing a felony after Brasel was shot and killed.

The Ramsey County Attorney’s Office has since filed a petition to certify the 17-year-old as an adult, saying his criminal history shows "he does not hesitate" to invade the personal space of his victims.