Duluth teen charged with murder; victim identified
Corey Devon Young, 17, is already on probation after bringing a gun to school in May. Prosecutors will seek to have him tried as an adult.
DULUTH — A 17-year-old boy admitted to fatally shooting another teen who had verbally confronted him over his alleged involvement in a theft, according to charges filed Wednesday.
Corey Devon Young, of Duluth, was arraigned in 6th Judicial District juvenile court on a charge of intentional second-degree murder in the killing of Xzavier Louis Aubid-St. Clair, also 17, of Duluth.
A delinquency petition states that surveillance video confirmed witness statements regarding Young pulling a handgun from a fanny pack and shooting St. Clair in the head just before 9:30 p.m. Saturday near the intersection of 16th Avenue East and First Street.
Young, who surrendered to officers early Sunday after several hours of negotiations, allegedly stated: "I swear it was self-defense. I felt threatened. He was saying I was a snitch and all that. I didn't know what to do."
Court records show that Young was placed on probation just five days before the shooting, after admitting in juvenile court to bringing to a pistol to school at the Area Learning Center in early May. He had also been charged in April 2021 with bringing ammunition to East High School.
Assistant St. Louis County Attorney Korey Horn filed a motion alongside the charges Wednesday asking the court to try Young as an adult. It is presumed that he would be certified, given his age and the fact that the offense carries a presumptive prison sentence.
Young was ordered to remain in custody of Duluth's Arrowhead Juvenile Center without bail, which is standard in serious cases, ahead of his next court appearance on July 14.
It is at least the third act of gun violence in the city involving minors in the course of three weeks. Two teens, 17 and 15, were said to be involved in two incidents in late June — one involving a person being shot in the leg in Canal Park and the other involving gunfire after a fight aboard a Duluth Transit Authority bus.
“Is it part of the result of a pandemic and lack of access to resources, programming or mentorship? It very well could be,” Police Chief Mike Tusken said at a Tuesday news conference.
“But also it is more of a trend we're seeing in other cities, where juveniles are being involved, engaged in significantly violent events — carjackings, armed robberies, aggravated assaults, homicides — and so this is a more of a broader trend that has steered clear of Duluth until more recently. But we’re seeing it. It is of grave concern.”
According to the petition and police reports filed in court:
Officers were handling a domestic disturbance on the 1400 block of East First Street when they heard three gunshot-like noises that they initially suspected to be fireworks. But moments later, a frantic 12-year-old came running up to the officers and yelling that "Corey" had killed his brother by shooting him in the head.
Additional reports began coming in and officers found St. Clair lying on the sidewalk with an apparent gunshot wound to his face. He was taken to Essentia Health-St. Mary's Medical Center and quickly pronounced dead.
The victim's brother, while "clearly in distress and very emotional," was able to tell police that he had accompanied St. Clair, who was upset about $400 being stolen and planned to confront Young and two others. They walked to Young's residence and a brief verbal altercation ensued before the 17-year-old allegedly produced the 9 mm handgun and shot St. Clair.
Police later located another 16-year-old witness, who didn't know Young's name but described the circumstances.
"The witness heard victim claim that respondent's firearm wasn't real, which is when the witness saw respondent rack the slide on the gun and start firing at victim from 10-12 feet away," the petition states.
Police checked surveillance systems from nearby buildings, finding video that showed the verbal altercation followed by Young producing the gun and shooting St. Clair in the face.
Officers went to Young's residence, 1327 E. Second St., but eventually discovered he was holed up in a neighboring apartment. They also spoke with a pastor, who indicated Young had accepted responsibility and wanted to surrender.
After negotiations with police, Young exited the apartment around 1:46 a.m. and was allowed to say goodbye to his mother, girlfriend and young child.
He reportedly declined to take part in a full interview with investigators, but did make several statements indicating he was in fear as he was confronted by St. Clair.
“He was going around saying I was a snitch and he came to the area with his friends, his brother," Young allegedly told officers at the Public Safety Building. "I didn’t know them and I didn’t know what they had. I just reacted the only way I could because I didn’t want to die.”
A search executed at Young's residence resulted in the seizure of a fanny pack consistent with witness descriptions and video. There is no indication that the gun has been recovered.
Young had just been sentenced June 27 to six months of supervised probation after pleading guilty to possessing a 9 mm pistol and ammunition on school property. He completed six months of supervised probation last year after authorities found ammo in his backpack at school, resulting in the dismissal of that charge.
An obituary states that St. Clair attended East High School and "loved spending time with his family." He was survived by his parents, four brothers and extended family members. Services were to be held Wednesday night and Thursday morning on the Mille Lacs Reservation near McGregor.
Duluth Public Schools Superintendent John Magas said in a statement Wednesday he was "deeply saddened" by the death of a student and "extremely concerned about the gun violence affecting our youth." He encouraged gun owners to pick up a free lock, available during normal business hours at the Public Safety Building, and speak with children about gun safety.
"Too many young people have died in our community and around the county due to gun violence," Magas said. "Safety of our students and staff is one of our top priorities and there are many things we do to ensure safety in our buildings, but we can’t do it alone. Please support us in being part of the solution by talking with your kids and ensuring that your firearms are safely stored."