Reward of $180,000, billboard campaign part of effort to resolve cases of children shot in Minneapolis

·2 min read

Aug. 9—Rewards totaling $180,000 are being offered for information in the investigation into the shooting of three children in Minneapolis.

Spotlight on Crime, a collaboration between the Minnesota Business Partnership and public safety officials that provides cash rewards for information that helps solve violent crimes, and Crime Stoppers, a non-profit that collects tips on crimes to aid law enforcement, are joining together to offer the rewards. They are the largest offered in state history.

A press conference to discuss the cases will be held Monday with Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo. Booker Hodges, assistant commissioner for the Minnesota Department of Public Safety and Superintendent Drew Evans of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension attending.

Representatives from Crime Stoppers Minnesota and Clear Channel Outdoor, an advertising company, will also attend, as will the families of Ladavionne Garrett Jr., Trinity Ottoson-Smith and Aniya Allen. All three children were the unintended targets of gun violence this year allegedly among rival gangs.

On April 30, Garrett, 10, was shot in the head while riding in a vehicle with his parents. He survived, but faces many challenges in recovery.

Ottoson-Smith, 9, died when she was struck by a stray bullet while jumping on a trampoline at a friend's birthday party May 15 in North Minneapolis.

Allen, 6, died May 19, two days after she was shot while in her family's car on the way home from McDonald's.

In addition to rewards, the groups will announce a billboard campaign to help get the word out. Officials hope the rewards will motivate someone with information on the shootings to come forward.

As with many other major U.S. cities, Minneapolis has experienced a rise in violence and property crime in the past year. This increase comes as the police department is more than 200 officers, or about 25 percent, below its authorized strength due mostly to a wave of retirements and disability leaves following George Floyd's murder while in police custody and the unrest that followed.

This story contains information from the Associated Press.