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Man charged in connection with shooting at Woodbury graduation party

According to Woodbury Police, Keith Dawson has been charged with several felony counts, but is not believed to have killed a teen, who he says is his stepson.
Credit: Washington County Jail

WOODBURY, Minn. — An arrest has been made after an exchange of gunfire at a graduation party Saturday night in Woodbury that left a 14-year-old boy dead.

According to the Woodbury Police Department, Keith Dawson, 35, has been charged with several felony counts, including drive-by shooting, illegal possession of a firearm, and second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon.

The 14-year-old killed has been identified as Demaris Nathan Hobbs-Ekdahl of Maplewood. According to family, the teen was attending the party with his older brother.

Dawson, who identified himself as the stepfather of Demaris, is not believed to be the person who shot and killed him.

According to Woodbury Police, officers responded to the 6100 block of Edgewood Avenue around 10:46 p.m. after getting a report of people screaming, including one person saying "help me." Dispatchers could hear people screaming in the background before the caller disconnected.

Officers later discovered that address was hosting a high school graduation party.

RELATED: 'He was always smiling': Family mourns loss of 14-year-old fatally shot at graduation party in Woodbury

According to the criminal complaint, a witness said that Dawson, who was driving a Chevy Tahoe, allegedly fired shots into a dark SUV. The occupants in the dark SUV returned gunfire, which hit Demaris in a separate car. At some point, Demaris and the occupants of the car stopped and got into the Chevy Tahoe and then went to Regions Hospital.

In the post-Miranda interview, Dawson admitted to police that he fired the first shots at people he thought were "messing with his kids," according to the complaint. He also said he had thrown the gun out of his vehicle, but officers later recovered the weapon.

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