The Ramsey County Attorney’s Office is now seeking to file a motion to have a 15-year-old suspect certified to stand trial as an adult for fatally shooting a businesswoman in St. Paul, Minnesota, last week.
Julia (Yuliya) Li, 34, was allegedly driving on the 1000 block of Payne Avenue at around 6:45 p.m. on Feb. 16 when the teenage suspect, who reportedly has an “extensive and violent criminal history,” according to police spokesperson Steve Linders, opened fire at her, reported Pioneer Press.
“It appears she was just a person going about her daily business, driving down the street when the suspect opened fire and shot her,” Linders said, according to Star Tribune
Li was rushed by paramedics to Regions Hospital, where she died soon after.
St. Paul police said the suspect is being held in Hennepin County after his Tuesday arrest on suspicion of second-degree murder and other offenses.
The suspect is being charged with murder in Ramsey County, and a county attorney’s spokesperson claimed that the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office is seeking to file a motion that would make the teenage suspect “certified to stand trial as an adult.”
Li’s death was marked as the seventh case of homicide recorded in the city this year, according to KARE 11. Authorities said that nothing has been found to show that the woman and the suspect ever interacted or knew each other.
In 2017, Li joined H.B. Fuller, an adhesives manufacturer and a publicly-traded Fortune 1000 company with headquarters in Vadnais Heights, Minnesota. She worked as the company’s global business director and was the leading person for its Amazon business project.
Originally from Kazakhstan, Li moved to the U.S. to become a student at the University of Minnesota in 2007. She studied economics and global studies for her bachelor’s degree and was reportedly studying to obtain a master’s degree from the University of St. Thomas.
“This tragic, senseless violence brought an end to the life of a bright, well-respected, committed, hard-working professional who will be greatly missed by everyone who knew her,” H.B. Fuller President and CEO Jim Owens said in a statement.
Owens also added that the suspect was previously released for his past violent crimes, saying, “Our mayors, government officials and judicial officials need to create a system that does not allow young criminals to terrorize our community. Had they done a better job, Julia would be alive today.”
Police Chief Todd Axtell echoed a similar sentiment. Speaking on Tuesday, Axtell said the incident could have been prevented had the city’s justice system held the teenager accountable in the past.
“If every spoke in the criminal justice wheel had worked to hold this teen accountable for previous crimes, Ms. Li would be here, the suspect would have received help and consequences to right his course, and our city would not have suffered the trauma of echoing gunshots,” Axtell said.
Axtell also said that he has spoken to Li’s husband and informed him that the teenage suspect is now in custody.