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Police arrested a man they said lured a Minneapolis realtor to an alley where she was gunned down hours before midnight on New Year's Eve.
Cedric Lamont Berry, 41, was charged with second-degree murder in the shooting of Monique Baugh, 28, as well as the attempted murder of her boyfriend, Jon Mitchell-Momoh, a Minnesota rapper, prosecutors said on Monday.
At 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 31, police responded to a shooting on Humboldt Avenue in the city’s north side, according to a police incident report obtained by Oxygen.com.
Upon arrival, they found Mitchell-Momoh, who had been shot multiple times, but was able to tell authorities that a masked gunman had entered the locked front door using a key. He said the intruder, who was “wearing a black colored mask, with only one hole for both eyes,” fired multiple rounds, according to police records. The wounded man then fled upstairs where his 1-year-old child was sleeping.
“I am dead already!” Mitchell-Momoh shouted at the shooter, the criminal complaint stated. “My babies are here!”
The man's 3-year-old toddler was also home at the time. Both children were unharmed, police said.
Police retrieved a number of silver .45 caliber casings at the scene, as well as the key the gunman used to enter the home. It belonged to Baugh, authorities said.
Roughly an hour after the incident, a gunshot detection device tipped police off to another shooting near a back alley on the 1300 block of Russell Avenue North. There, they found Baugh, who had been shot twice in the torso and once in the face — at point blank range, a medical examiner later found. She was unresponsive and her hands were bound with tape.
Near her body, detectives recovered more .45 caliber shell casings. Witnesses reported seeing an older tan-colored Buick drive down the alley minutes before the shooting. A U-Haul truck with Arizona plates, which was spotted near the scene of her boyfriend’s shooting, was also seen in the area.
Police later found Baugh's black BMW at a house in the Minneapolis suburb of Maple Grove. They presumed that she was showing the home to potential buyers, police said. Inside, they found a single pink press-on fingernail.
Using a neighbor’s surveillance footage, detectives found that Baugh parked her BMW in the driveway of the Maple Grove home around 3 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. Soon after, investigators said, a U-Haul pulled up and backed into the driveway. Two people, who police couldn’t positively identify, entered the home and appeared to force Baugh out and stuff her into the cargo hold of the truck.
Baugh’s boyfriend, Mitchell-Momoh, told law enforcement that he last saw her about an hour before he was shot. Baugh, a real estate agent, received a call shortly before both shootings requesting she show a house to an unknown person. Mitchell-Momoh also said his girlfriend was puzzled as to how the caller had obtained her cell phone number.
Investigators soon traced the U-Haul, which had been seen at both shootings, to a business in Ramsey County. Inside, they found zip ties and four pink press-on fingernails, which matched the one found in the home at which Baugh was likely abducted. The truck also reeked of ammonia, police said.
A rental agreement for the truck led police to two men, who admitted they rented the van for Berry in exchange for heroin.
Police arrested Berry on Jan. 2. Searching his 2002 Buick Regal, investigators seized 13 pouches of heroin from the center console, as well as the mask police suspect Berry wore when he allegedly shot Mitchell-Momoh.
“I cannot begin to describe how vicious the behavior was in this case,” Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said in a statement on Monday. “We have charged Mr. Berry with setting a trap for Ms. Baugh, assassinating her at close range and shooting at her boyfriend while in the same house with two small children.”
Berry, a convicted drug dealer, has extensive rap sheet stretching back 20 years. He was convicted of manslaughter in 2002 and has a slew of past narcotics convictions, according to separate court records. Berry was also previously convicted on assault, robbery, firearms, and intoxicated driving charges.
Officials, who said the investigation into Baugh’s death is ongoing, haven’t yet released a motive and didn’t specify how Berry knew the couple.
However, Mitchell-Momoh, an up and coming rapper, was recently “flaunting his cash on social media” after inking a record deal, police said. Videos on the man’s Instagram feed show him showering with clumps of cash and tumbling stacks of hundred dollar bills in a drying machine. Going by the artist name ‘Momoh,’ he has collaborated with the likes of late rapper Nipsey Hussle and rubbed shoulders with 50 Cent.
The Minnesota Star-Tribune reported that Baugh’s slaying may have been linked to a suspected drug rivalry between Mitchell-Momoh and Berry, according to a separate arrest warrant. The grieving musician, though, firmly denied knowing Berry, adding that the allegations have haunted him while he mourns his girlfriend.
“I’ve never seen that Cedric dude in my life,” Mitchell-Momoh told the Star-Tribune. “I don’t know him … I really want to clear the air. It’s like I murdered her. This has really hurt my heart.”
Court documents reviewed by Oxygen.com show Mitchell-Momoh was found guilty of drug possession in 2018. And, in 2014, he was arrested on marijuana charges, which were later dropped. The Minnesota rapper dismissed these as isolated incidents.
“They’ve got me looking like a monster,” he explained. “They have it was like I’m in a gang. I don’t have a gang-life background.”
Instead, Mitchell-Momoh said he believes a music industry acquaintance is possibly behind the targeted attacks.
“I think it’s because I really do not want to be around their crowd,” he added.
Baugh, who flipped homes in Minneapolis’ suburbs, was described by her co-workers as a “driven” realtor” and “loving mother who always put her children first.”
“Our entire team is devastated by Monique’s death,” Kris Lindahl, Baugh’s employer, told Oxygen.com. “We are grateful for the outpouring of support from the community and are focusing on remembering what an amazing person Monique was and helping her children.”
Lindahl said that Baugh joined his company nearly a year ago.
“[She] left an incredible impact on all of us,” he added.
Berry was arraigned on Tuesday and his bail was set at $2 million, according to a Hennepin County court clerk. His next court date is scheduled for Feb. 7 at 9 a.m. He’s also facing separate drug and police evasion charges.
Tanya Bishop, Berry’s public defender, wasn’t immediately available for comment on Wednesday.
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