Police: Stepdad of Minnesota teen shot at grad party started gunfight to scare group ‘messing with his kids’

minneapolis
Source: Washington County jail; MEGA

Jun. 8 2021, Published 4:44 p.m. ET

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The stepfather of a Minnesota teenager shot and killed after attending a graduation party is now under arrest and accused of sparking the deadly gunfire fight.

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On June 5, Demaris Ekdahl, 14, was at the event in Woodbury with his 16-year-old brother and cousins but the group left because Ekdahl didn’t feel comfortable, family told WCCO-TV.

According to Woodbury Public Safety, Ekdahl’s stepfather, Keith Dawson, 35, headed to the party after he heard about an “altercation” between some in attendance, the station reported.

Shortly before 11 p.m., Dawson reportedly told detectives, he met his stepson and the others who had left the party and they were following him in another vehicle when he drove to the residence where the event was being held.

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Dawson allegedly said he shot at the SUV of a group he believed were “messing with his kids” — and they returned fired, according to KSTP-TV. A bullet pierced through the trunk of the vehicle Ekdahl was riding in and struck him.

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Dawson put Ekdahl in his car and drove to the hospital, where the high school sophomore died from his injuries. Police said they recovered a gun Dawson had thrown out the window along the way.

Dawson currently faces charges of drive-by shooting, illegal possession of a firearm and two counts of assault.

"A beautiful soul was taken yesterday my nephew, he was 14 years old full of life,” the victim’s aunt, Michelle Ekdahl, wrote on a GoFundMe page started to help with burial costs. “Loved football and loved doing mechanical work and watching his uncle race cars. He didn't deserve to be taken like this.”

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