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St. Louis teen charged in retaliation killing for earlier homicide, charges say

St. Louis teen charged in retaliation killing for earlier homicide, charges say

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ST. LOUIS — A St. Louis teenager was charged Thursday with murdering another teen in what the suspect described as retaliation for a homicide last year.

Neptali J. Mejia, 18, of the 3400 block of Grace Avenue, was charged with first-degree murder, armed criminal action and unlawful use of a weapon in Tuesday's fatal shooting of Jonathan R. Cruz, 19.

Neptali J. Mejia

Neptali J. Mejia was charged July 22, 2021, with murdering 19-year-old Jonathan Cruz.

Cruz was found shot to death in the street just after 7:30 p.m. near Minnesota Avenue and Cherokee Street, at the edge of the city's Gravois Park neighborhood, police said. He had lived in the 4300 block of Beck Avenue.

Charges said police found Cruz's bullet-riddled car parked on the block. Surveillance video showed two vehicles in a row pull up to Cruz's vehicle and their occupants fire shots at Cruz, the charges say.

Mejia admitted driving a car holding others who shot at Cruz and said the attack on Cruz was retaliation for the fatal shooting of Kirby Dominguez-Amaya on Aug. 2. Dominguez-Amaya, 20, of Florissant  was found dead in a car in the 3300 block of Louisiana Avenue, not far from Cherokee Street, a court document says. 

A judge ordered Mejia held without bail. He did not yet have a lawyer.

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