Death in a Dinkytown cigar store

An arrest has been made in a case that made headlines back in December. Among other outlets, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that the suspect was picked up in Chicago.

Maleek Conley, age 25, was arrested and charged with two counts of 2nd-degree murder in the case. He is being held in the Hennepin County jail on $2 million bail. Dakota County has also placed a hold on Mr. Conley, arising from another case.

I mentioned this story at the time, and it began an entire series I call “Anatomy of A Murder.” These incidents occur with such frequency that the details of one get lost with the rush to the next atrocity.

According to the complaint in the case, at 2:15 a.m., Sunday December 3, officers were called to a cigar store in the Dinkytown neighborhood of Minneapolis. Two groups of young men happened to meet at the store, words escalated to punches thrown, then shots fired.

Two customers–Bryson Haskell, 24, and Jamartre Sanders, 24–lay dead on the floor, while a store clerk lay merely wounded. The complaint alleges that Conley was the gunman, accompanied by four associates, including his brother. The five fled the scene in a KIA.

The three victims were hit by a total of 15 bullets. Two other shots fired at a would-be fourth victim, missed. Police allege that at least 24 shots were fired by the defendant.

The two deceased are reported to be members of the “Lowz” gang of north Minneapolis (or “Lows” if you prefer).

The alleged gunman and his alleged accomplices are said to hail from the “Crazi Boyz” gang of south Minneapolis. As they say in such matters, everyone involved (save the store clerk) was “previously known” to authorities.

The Star Tribune reports that the cigar store incident has links to a third Lowz fatality that occurred that same night across the city in Uptown. Here the victim was Ty-Shawn Lyons, age 20, of Rochester.

The Star Tribune notes that an alleged Lowz associate, Ramone Jackson, 23, was indicted this week in Federal court on fentanyl distribution and gun charges dating back to October 2023. Jackson is being held in the Sherburne County jail.

Confusion arises in the gang naming conventions. Local cops use “Lowz” while the Feds refer to the “Lows”, which include, among others, the “Stick Up Boys” (SUB) subdivision. According to the original complaint in Jackson’s Federal case (p. 2, paragraph 4), in the usual run of play the Lows/Lowz are opposed by the “Highs” of Minneapolis.

The complaint describes a gang war, raging across the west Metro last fall, involving multiple shootings and automatic weapons. In handguns, those involved utilize the 9 mm, 10 mm and 0.40 calibers. The cigar store shooting was just the third of four incidents recorded during that stretch. Jackson himself called 911 after incident No. 4 (the Uptown shooting).

The Federal gun charges result from Jackson’s June 2021 state conviction on three felony counts. In that case, Jackson received a stayed prison sentence from Hennepin County judge Paul Scoggin. Instead, he was sentenced to spend 180 days in the county workhouse.

A new felony charge was filed in May 2023, but was pled down to a misdemeanor, with another stayed sentence.