2 men charged with shooting death of teen at Woodbury graduation party

·3 min read

Two men have been charged in connection with a 14-year-old boy's being fatally shot in the back in Woodbury as he left a high school graduation party.

Jaden L. Townsend, 19, and Enrique L. Davila, 23, of St. Paul, were charged late Thursday in Washington County District Court with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and various assault charges in connection with the killing of Demaris N. Hobbs-Ekdahl, of Maplewood, last Saturday in the 6100 block of Edgewood Avenue during a shootout allegedly involving the teen's stepfather.

Both men were charged by warrant and "their whereabouts is unknown," according to the charging documents. The documents also reference an unidentified 17-year-old as a "juvenile defendant." He's also unaccounted for, the charges read.

Earlier this week, Keith Dawson, 35, of St. Paul, was charged with drive-by shooting, assault with a dangerous weapon and illegal possession of a gun in connection with his role in the chain of events that left his 14-year-old stepson dead. Dawson remains jailed in lieu of $175,000 bail.

The charges did not provide a motive for Hobbs-Ekdahl's killing or say who fired the fatal shot.

The single shot that killed Hobbs-Ekdahl first hit the trunk of the car and went through the seat cushion, the charges read.

Davila has an extensive criminal history in Minnesota. He has been convicted of hit-and-run driving, first-degree robbery, fleeing police, fifth-degree assault, drug possession and disorderly conduct.

Katie Ekdahl, Demaris' aunt, said a police detective notified the family about the charges and a nationwide manhunt that is underway.

"The problem is that all three have left the state," she said, pointing to Snapchats she said one or more of the fugitives posted since the shooting.

According to the charges against Townsend and Davila:

Officers arrived at the scene to find 20 to 30 people inside and outside a garage and dozens of shell casings in the front yard fired by multiple guns. Fresh bullet holes had punctured homes and vehicles nearby.

A woman there told police that a white SUV arrived and the driver, later determined to be Dawson, allegedly fired three to four gunshots at two people standing next to a darker SUV. About 15 to 20 shots were returned from the dark SUV, she said.

Dawson was spotted by police driving north on Century Avenue, and he did not stop until arriving at Regions Hospital with Hobbs-Ekdahl in the back seat and suffering from "significant injuries." The teen died that night.

Officers learned that people in a car were involved in the shooting and tracked the vehicle to a home in Maplewood. A male at the home said he, Hobbs-Ekdahl and others showed up at the party sometime after 10 p.m.

As they started to leave, Townsend and Davila approached. Davila put a gun into the male's ribs and said "Don't try anything," the charges quoted him as saying. Townsend then slapped the male across the face, the charges said. The juvenile defendant was nearby and also had a gun.

Hobbs-Ekdahl called his stepfather, and he and the others with him met at a nearby car dealership. Hobbs-Ekdahl and his friends drove back to the party in their car, as did Dawson.

That's when Dawson allegedly shot toward the dark SUV associated with Townsend, Davila and the juvenile defendant. Gunfire from the dark SUV's direction struck Hobbs-Ekdahl.

Interviews with Hobbs-Ekdahl's friends and others failed to positively identify who shot the teen. One person with Hobbs-Ekdahl told police that he "believed more than one gun was being shot," according to the charges.

Officers went to the juvenile defendant's home, where the dark SUV was parked in the drive. No suspects were at the residence. In the garage was a duffel bag containing two handguns, ammunition magazines and a small rifle.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

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