Police believe victim target for shootingA fatal Sunday morning shooting in Superior was not a random act of violence. The victim, 35-year-old Toriano Dawen “Snapper” Cooper, was targeted, according to Superior Police Chief Charles LaGesse, during a press conference Monday.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
A fatal Sunday morning shooting in Superior was not a random act of violence. The victim, 35-year-old Toriano Dawen “Snapper” Cooper, was targeted, according to Superior Police Chief Charles LaGesse, during a press conference Monday.
“This was not a random act of violence the public should be concerned with,” he said.
Conversations about possible motive with family and friends indicate it was possible that Cooper had people angry with him, the chief said. He did not comment on whether the shooting was drug-related.
“That would be speculation at this point,” LaGesse said.
One family member told the Duluth News Tribune that Cooper was likely killed due to drugs.
“My brother had a drug problem his whole life and this is the end result of it,” said Antron Cooper, who lives in Minneapolis. “He did something to somebody and they turned around and took his life.”
Kristina Lampi, who referred to Toriano Cooper as her fiance, said it was too early to know whether his death had anything to do with his prior involvement with drugs.
“He had been doing good lately. Drugs were a constant fight for him. It wasn’t easy, but we have tried to help him overcome them,” said Lampi, noting that Cooper had been sober for 22 days straight at the time of the shooting.
Cooper was outside his residence at 1901 N. 12th St. doing some cleaning or maintenance on a vehicle prior to the shooting. Neighbors heard what they believed to be gunshots but when they looked outside they did not see anyone in the immediate area. Witnesses saw Cooper talking to another adult African American male standing near the home just prior to the shooting.
LaGesse said the shot was fired by someone on foot standing near Cooper, not from a vehicle.
Cooper was able to make his way back into the home, but he succumbed to his injuries before medical personnel arriving on scene.
A preliminary examination revealed one gunshot wound to the chest. An autopsy was underway Tuesday at the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office in Ramsey, Minn. Results were not available as of press time.
Antron Cooper said his brother had three children, ages 8 to 16, and lived in Superior for about 12 to 15 years.
A friend of Toriano Cooper’s, Chucc Walker, painted another picture of Cooper for News Tribune staff, saying he had an easy way with young people and was known to take time out to toss a football around with kids in the neighborhood.
Walker said Cooper had a talent for customizing vehicles, and was no troublemaker.
“He was one of those guys you’d want for a neighbor,” Walker said. “He was one of the few men I would trust to watch my kids
The shooting was reported at 10:07 a.m. Sunday. Superior police are asking for help from those who were in the area at the time. Anyone who may have seen the two men talking or anything suspicious — someone running to or from the scene or an African American male getting in a vehicle and leaving the scene — are encouraged to contact the Superior Police Department tip line at (715) 395-7468, or send an anonymous text tip 847411, keyword “spdtip.” Tips can also be left on the department’s Facebook page.
LaGesse said not many people have come forward with information yet. Police are also examining video footage taken by businesses in the area of the shooting. No further description of the suspect was given.
While the victim has had contact with police, LaGesse said, none of it was drug related or would be connected to the shooting.
Peter Passi and Brandon Stahl with the Duluth News Tribune contributed to this story.