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Thursday, May 2, 2019

12 Men Charged in 'Coordinated' Robberies That Terrorized MetroLink Riders

Posted By on Thu, May 2, 2019 at 10:32 AM

click to enlarge Armani McKinley, left and Antreion Betts are part of a group that terrorized MetroLink riders. - COURTESY OF VINELINK
  • Armani McKinley, left and Antreion Betts are part of a group that terrorized MetroLink riders.
The killing of a county employee at the South Grand MetroLink station last August set off an investigation that has now snared twelve men — and taken down a "criminal enterprise" terrorizing MetroLink riders, says St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner.

Craig LeFebvre, a spokesman for the St. Louis County Health Department, was killed in August 2018 while waiting for the bus. Armani McKinley, 20, and Antreion Betts, 19, were allegedly robbing a different man when that person opened fire and inadvertently killed LeFebvre. In January, McKinley and Betts were charged with LeFebvre' murder.

Gardner now says that was the only tip of the iceberg. The investigation surrounding the two young men has led to more charges against them — and charges against ten others, she announced in a press release this morning.

The twelve men, her office alleges, were part of a "coordinated group of individuals" responsible for multiple robberies at five different MetroLink stations.

Gardner says they "targeted vulnerable and isolated people on trains and platforms – typically engaging their victims in conversation before surrounding them, robbing and assaulting them," regularly using violence or brandishing guns.

Some of the suspects are in custody, she said; others remain at large.

“Today is a great day for St. Louis,” Gardner says in the release. “Through excellent investigative teamwork, the state will be holding twelve people accountable for wreaking havoc and fear on our public transportation system. A well-functioning public transportation system is essential to an equitable and prosperous community. The public deserves a safe system and I believe today, we are one step closer to that goal."

Those indicted include McKinley, Betts, Ronnie Pope, Christopher Brown, Devante Dickerson, Antwain Davis, Paulo Finch, Christian Harrell, Ernest Johnson, Matthew McNealy, Dejon Brown and Kadeem Darden-Bay.

The attacks at the center of the indictments include armed robberies in which victims were stomped on, struck in the face and shot. In one case, as a victim attempted to crawl off the train onto the platform after being battered, the men pulled him back onto the train and continued the attack.

The men were identified through surveillance video, jail calls, social media accounts and witness statements over an eight-month investigation, Gardner says.

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