ST. LOUIS - Twelve people are facing indictment in St. Louis for a series of violent crimes at light rail stations, including a killing.
The indictments were announced Thursday by Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner.
A shooting in August killed 48-year-old Craig LeFebvre, who worked as a spokesman for the St. Louis County Health Department. LeFebvre was hit by a stray bullet while someone else was being robbed. Gardner also cited several robberies at five MetroLink stations in 2018.
Gardner says an investigation by her office found a criminal enterprise that targeted vulnerable and isolated people on trains and train platforms. She says that typically, the group would engage a victim in conversation before surrounding and robbing the person, often at gunpoint.
Prosecutors requested that all 12 suspects be held without bail.
This is the release from the St. Louis Circuit Attorney's Office:
Today, Circuit Attorney Kimberly M. Gardner announced indictments related to a multifaceted, eight-month investigation by the Circuit Attorney’s Office (CAO) into multiple robberies at five MetroLink stations in 2018 and the murder of Roth “Creig” Lefebvre on August 21, 2018.
“My Crime Strategies Unit (CSU) of prosecutors and investigators has been working for months, painstakingly putting the pieces of this complex puzzle together so we could bring safety and peace of mind to MetroLink riders and to Mr. Lefebvre’s family,” said Circuit Attorney Gardner. The CSU connected the evidence of this choreographed conspiracy by painstakingly reviewing surveillance video, jail calls, social media accounts, and witness statements to identify each participant and his role in each of the coordinated criminal attacks.
On August 21, 2018, Creig Lefebvre was shot and killed as an unintended target at the Grand MetroLink station as a result of an armed robbery that took place several feet away. That shooting and homicide opened up an investigation that led to the indictments of 12 people involved in multiple armed robberies throughout 2018 at five MetroLink stations.
“Today is a great day for St. Louis,” said Gardner. “Through excellent investigative teamwork, the state will be holding 12 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. We would like to thank SLMPD’s MetroLink Lieutenant John Blaskiewicz for his assistance with this investigation and thank SLMPD’s Fugitive Apprehension Team for their assistance with bringing these individuals into custody.” Police have some of the people indicted in custody, and other remain at large.
The CAO CSU investigation revealed a coordinated group of individuals who regularly engaged in a pattern of violent criminal conduct on Metro property. This criminal enterprise targeted vulnerable and isolated people on trains and platforms – typically engaging their victims in conversation before surrounding them, robbing and assaulting them. This group would regularly use violent physical force and/or display firearms during the attacks.
Prosecutors believe Armani McKinley was the lead actor in the armed robbery at the Grand Ave. MetroLink incident on August 21, 2018. McKinley, Matthew McNealy, Antwain Davis, Ronnie Pope and Dejon Brown have been indicted on Murder 2nd , Armed Criminal Action and Robbery 1st charges related to the August 21, 2018 armed robbery of D.S. and the shooting of Mr. Lefebvre. The robbery victim in that case accidently shot Mr. Lefebvre trying to defend himself in the robbery. That victim plead guilty to illegally possessing a firearm.
Armani McKinley, Ronnie Pope, Christopher Brown, Devante Dickerson, Antwain Davis and Paulo Finch have been indicted on Robbery 1st and Armed Criminal Action for an incident at the MetroLink near the Forest Park Platform on January 7, 2018. Video surveillance captured this attack. Brown and Pope admitted their involvement in the robbery over recorded jail calls. Their conversations also implicated the other defendants.
Antreion Betts has been indicted for Robbery 2nd for an incident at the MetroLink near the Union Station platform for a January 10, 2018 incident. The victim refused to give up his property and Betts began striking the victim in the face leaving the victim semi-conscious and dazed. Betts then threw the semi-conscious victim’s body into the aisle of the train and began rifling through the victim’s pockets, taking the victim’s property. Video surveillance captured this vicious attack. Witness’ accounts of the incident and social media were utilized to identify Betts in this attack.
Armani McKinley and Christian Harrell have been indicted for Robbery 1st and Armed Criminal Action for an incident on September 12, 2018 at the MetroLink bus stop at Delmar Blvd. Antreion Betts has been indicted for Unlawful Use of a Weapon – Shooting at a Person. In this incident, a victim was robbed at gunpoint.
Harrell approached the victim inquiring about purchasing marijuana. As this was occurring, McKinley and other associates surrounded the victim at gunpoint and demanded his money, backpack, and other property. As McKinley, Harrell and their associates backed away from the victims with their guns still drawn, the victim retrieved his own firearm and began demanding the victim’s property back. Betts then fired several shots at the victim striking him in the lower extremities. The victim returned fire at Betts, McKinley, Harrell, and Harrell’s associates. One of these shots missed the intended targets, striking a bystander in the lower extremities.
Devante Dickerson, Ernest Johnson, Matthew McNealy, Dejon Brown and Kadeem Darden-Bay have been indicted for Robbery 2 and Kidnapping 2nd for an incident on October 2, 2018 on the MetroLink near 8th and Pine. The group of men surrounded the victim, punching the victim to the ground where he was then pinned down by Darden-Bey while the other defendants repeatedly struck and stomped the victim.
When the victim tried to escape the attack and crawl from the train through the train’s open doors at a platform, the defendants dragged him back into the train preventing his escape while they continued to strike, stomp, and rob him. While this assault was occurring, the defendants rifled through the victim’s pockets, taking his personal property. Video surveillance captured this heinous attack and social media was again utilized to identify the defendants in this attack. Sean Van Dyke has already entered a guilty plea on those charges related to that incident.
Given the danger each of these defendants pose to remaining surviving victims, as well as the surrounding community at-large, according to court documents, prosecutors’ request no bail for each defendant.