July 11, 2008

IDs Surface in North Side Murder-Suicide; Boy, 6, is Critical

By Tim Harlow, Star Tribune, Minneapolis

Jul. 11--Tensions over child-support payments were building before a murder-suicide today in north Minneapolis in which a man shot and killed his ex-girlfriend, critically wounded his 6-year-old son and then took his own life.

The victims has been in a violent relationship that had "escalated for some time," said police Inspector Mike Martin. That relationship ended around 7 a.m. when the man showed up at his ex-girlfriend's house on the 4000 block of Emerson Avenue N. and fatally shot her, police said.

He then shot the boy while two other siblings looked on, before he stumbled down the alley and shot himself in a neighbor's back yard, police said.

The other children were unharmed.

Although police have yet to identify anyone involved in the case, court officials in Carver County identified the woman as Jewell Burnett, 28, and the man as Christopher D. Jefferson, 33. Burnett used to live in Chaska, the county seat.

The 6-year-old, Christopher D. Jefferson Jr., was in critical condition this afternoon at North Memorial Medical Center, a hospital spokeswoman said.

A Carver County Court administrator said court records show that Burnett was the biological mother of two of Jefferson's children and that Jefferson had granted her custody of Chris Jr., who is not her biological child.

Burnett's employer, University of Minnesota Physicians, informed colleagues of her death in an e-mail this morning.

"She was a good employee," said Ann Eilbracht, vice president of human resources for University of Minnesota Physicians. "This is really sad. We will miss her."

Burnett was a representative in the call center, which schedules appointments, Eilbracht said.

Police have yet to explain why Jefferson came to the home where Burnett was living with another man. But a court administrator said that records show that Burnett and Jefferson had been in court several times over the past few months because Jefferson had not been paying child support.

A hearing scheduled for June 27 was canceled. They were due back in court Aug. 20, those records show.

Tim Harlow --612-673-7768


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