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Girl shot dead might have been innocent bystander

Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS — A 14-year-old girl was shot dead Saturday night after leaving a birthday party with her boyfriend and stepbrother. Police believe Charez Jones was an innocent bystander. As of late Sunday night, no one had been arrested.

Guy Jones said his daughter, who would have finished her freshman year at Edison High School on Tuesday, was an "angel" and called the incident senseless.

"The only thing she did wrong was that she was at the wrong place at the wrong time," Jones said. "I want the people who acted so recklessly out here to be punished so it doesn’t happen to someone else’s family."

Charez had left the party with her boyfriend, Gerald Cepeda, 15, and her younger stepbrother. They were headed down the block when they came upon three young men who were arguing at the corner of 33rd and North Humboldt avenues. Charez and the boys turned back, and Charez took out her cell phone and called a cousin for a ride home. After hearing gunshots, they ran.

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"I had her hand, and she let me go, Gerald said. "I thought she was behind me." The next time he saw her, she was dead near the house where the party was.

The house’s owner, Darnita Thomas, said four young men had arrived earlier and wanted to get into the party. Thomas said they left after she told them she wouldn’t let them in unless they submitted to a search.

Minutes later, Thomas said, she heard gunshots.

Police officers in the area also heard the shots shortly after 11 p.m. and arrived to find Charez’s body on the sidewalk.

This was the 25th homicide in Minneapolis since the beginning of the year and the second in which a child was killed.

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