UPDATED: Man Charged In 1998 Chi-Chi's Gang Related Shooting, Murder
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said it was "good old-fashioned" police work that led to the charges.
Fourteen years after a shooting in the Richfield Chi-Chi's restaurant parking lot, that left one man dead and another seriously wounded, the Hennepin County Attorney's Office has charged a Brooklyn Center man.
Michael Joseph Scott, 44, was charged with two felony counts of second-degree murder, one being murder for the benefit of a gang and the other intentional murder.
According to the criminal complaint, Richfield Police responded to a shooting call around 12:40 a.m. April 4, 1998. Police found three men in the parking lot: one dead from apparent gun shot wounds, one seriously wounded and another "visibly shaken."
After taking victim and witness statements that night and examining other information collected over the last 14 years, officers determined the shooting was the result of an ongoing feud between two rival gangs, the Shotgun Crips and the Gangster Disciples.
The intended target of Scott's gunfire was not the man who died, according to the complaint. The victim who escaped injury that April night, a member of the Disciples, had previously shot at Scott at the Riverview Supper Club in November 1997.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said during a press conference Thursday afternoon that Scott had been a suspect in the Chi-Chi's incident, however, there wasn't substantial evidence for an arrest—until now.
Freeman also said many may be wondering why a break in a 14-year-old case is news. His answer: "Law enforcement never sleeps. ... The [Richfield Police officers] standing behind me are the answer."
Freeman said good old-fashioned police work on the part of the Richfield Police Department, and specifically Detective Patrick Moriarty's dedication, brought enough evidence to make the arrest and bring the charges.
"In this case, we didn't have new DNA [show up]," Freeman said. "They never gave up on this case."
According to an Associated Press story on TheRepublic.com, the man killed in the 1998 incident was 27-year-old Gilbert Toomer. The Hennepin County Attorney did not release the names of victims Thursday as this was a gang-related incident.
Freeman said Scott's first hearing is scheduled for Friday, July 20. Scott remains in Hennepin County Jail.
See Richfield Patch's "Follow-Up: Man Charged In Cold Case Murder" for a detailed account of the police department's criminal complaint.