MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - A Minneapolis man has been charged with murder in the shooting death of north side grandmother Birdell Beeks. The arrest of 20-year-old Joshua Ezeka was announced Monday and charges of second-degree murder were filed Tuesday.
Beeks, 58, was killed by stray gunfire while in a minivan with her 16-year-old granddaughter at the intersection of 21st Avenue N. and Penn Avenue N. on May 26.
“She said, ‘Nanny back up, Nanny back up. Hurry back up,’” recalls Beeks’ daughter and the girl’s mother Sa’lesha Beeks. “She looked over and she said, ‘baby they got me’ and passed out.”
According to the criminal complaint, Beeks and her granddaughter were at the intersection when multiple gunshots were fired in the vicinity of their van. Investigators have interviewed multiple witnesses, executed several search warrants, reviewed video surveillance, analyzed cell phones and accessed social media accounts. According to court documents, many witnesses have expressed fear of retaliation.
Investigators determined a person who is known to associate with “The Highs” gang approached the area in a car. Another person, who is associated with a rival gang, “The Lows,” told Ezeka that a rival gang member was nearby. Shortly after receiving this information, Ezeka, armed with a gun, ran toward the rival gang member’s car and started shooting multiple times. He was approximately 30 yards from the car when he fired his gun. Some bullets struck the rival gang member’s car and others struck Beeks’ minivan.
According to police reports, witnesses confirmed that after firing the shots, Ezeka fled from the area in a car with other individuals.
Ezeka is in jail and is expected to make his first court appearance Tuesday afternoon.
Sa'lesha Beeks fought tirelessly to push for leads in the case and keep her mother's story in the news. In August, she wrote an open letter to the shooter, pleading for his surrender.