On January 30, police in St. Paul, Minnesota, responded to a disturbing 911 call. A suspected shooting had occurred inside an apartment on Jessie Street, and multiple casualties were expected.
Once officers reached the residence, they found the bodies of three family members riddled with bullets. Two were already dead, but one was still clinging to life. As medics carefully tended to the 11-year-old victim, he managed to say one final word before succumbing to his injuries: The name of his killer.
Police arrived at the lower-level apartment around 3 p.m. on Saturday.
Once there, officers had some difficulty entering the residence. It wasn’t until they forced their way in that it became clear why: One of the victims, a teenage girl, was lying dead on the floor, blocking the path of the door.
Inside the apartment, officers found the two other victims: the 11-year-old boy and his mother. Both were lying face down when medics arrived, and the apartment was reportedly covered in blood.
The three victims, who were later identified as a mother and her two children, had all been shot multiple times.
According to a GoFundMe page set up by loved ones, 30-year-old D’Zondria Wallace, who was affectionately known as “Tweety,” moved to St. Paul from Mississippi less than a year ago with her 14-year-old daughter La’Porsha (“Suga”) and her 11-year-old son, Ja’Corbie (“Coby”). The mother’s intent was to better her life, and at least in the beginning, things certainly seemed promising.
“She started to work, she moved into her own place, and began looking into schools,” shared family on the GoFundMe page. “D’Zondria had dreams of becoming a lawyer, and helping minorities in need.”
She was described as “beautiful, outgoing, [and] full of life” — a mother who “loved her children with her whole heart” and only wanted the best for them.
But sadly, the family’s fresh new start took a sudden, tragic turn last weekend.
When officers arrived on the scene, neither La’Porsha or her mother D’Zondria were breathing. Ja’Corbie was miraculously still breathing, but was in and out of consciousness.
Medics worked on all three family members, but ultimately, D’Zondria and La’Porsha were non-responsive. The mother was shot twice while her daughter sustained 10 bullets wounds. Both were pronounced dead at the scene.
Ja’Corbie, meanwhile, was rushed by ambulance to a nearby hospital.
While en route, first responders asked the boy one fateful question: Who shot him?
Remarkably, he was able to reply, giving them one name: “Keith.”
Moments later, he was taken into emergency surgery, but doctors were unable to save him. Ja’Corbie was ultimately pronounced dead at 6:18 p.m., after suffering two bullet wounds to the back.
“Keith,” as it turned out, was Te’Keith Jones, 26 — his mother’s boyfriend.
After speaking with D’Zondria’s cousin, police were able to confirm that the mother had been dating “a very short man named Keith who had tattoos all over his upper body.”
Additionally, surveillance footage captured from a neighbor’s home showed a man roughly matching Jones’ description at the scene of the crime, just 30 minutes before the bodies were found. The person in the video was seen wearing dark clothing, and police said he was acting suspiciously.
Finally, the man entered the apartment before running back out toward a silver 2015 Jeep Compass. The car didn’t have a visible license plate, but it did have some noteworthy damage to the front right bumper and headlight.
A Minnesota state trooper later spotted the vehicle while on the way to another call.
After pulling over, the trooper asked the driver if he needed assistance and was told that the car had run out of gas. Though the driver’s description matched Jones, the officer was apparently unaware that he was face-to-face with the suspect of a triple homicide.
The trooper promised to return soon with help after answering the initial call, but after returning, the car was found empty — with the keys still sitting on the front seat.
Despite eluding police twice, Jones was caught within 24 hours.
Additional surveillance footage further tied the man to the Jeep from the scene of the crime, and on Sunday, he was arrested by SWAT team members in St. Paul. When the home was searched, officers found a 9mm handgun Jones was known to carry. Its chamber was empty.
The Wallace family remains heartbroken over the senseless tragedy.
On the GoFundMe page set up for the three victims, D’Zondria is remembered as a loving mother, with her children at the center of her universe. La’Porsha is said to have loved basketball, and dreamed of one day becoming a WNBA player. Ja’Corbie, meanwhile, was an avid gamer who was fond of Fortnite, had “the biggest smile on his tiny face,” and was a major basketball fan, just like his big sister.
As for whether or not friends and family saw this coming, that depends on who you ask.
“There were no warning signs,” Moesha Whitehall, Wallace’s cousin, told KSTP. “They seemed both happy together. He went to family outings with us, which makes it even worse that somebody we welcomed into our family broke our family apart.”
However, when officers later spoke with D’Zondria’s nephew, he shed some more light on the state of her relationship with Jones.
According to the nephew, the couple had recently broken up, but Jones continued to show up at D’Zondria’s house and even broke through a kitchen window in December. Once inside, he allegedly “swung D’Zondria around” and he accused her of cheating on him. The man ultimately calmed down, but allegedly returned the next morning and fired his pistol at D’Zondria.
The nephew added that he believed Jones’s intent was to kill D’Zondria, but that he luckily missed. He speculated that the man’s anger may have escalated after learning that D’Zondria began dating another man on January 10.