Man Sentenced to Life for 2011 Fatal Shooting of 13-Year-Old

Updated: 03/06/2014 7:40 AM By: Cassie Hart

Kemen Taylor II was convicted on nine counts.
Kemen Taylor II was convicted on nine counts.
Photo: Photo: Hennepin County

A Hennepin County jury sentenced a man Wednesday to life in prison for the fatal shooting of a teenage boy in North Minneapolis back in August of 2011.

Kemen Taylor II was convicted on nine counts, including first-degree murder, in the shooting death of 13-year-old Rayjon Gomez and the attempted murder of two teenage boys who were with Gomez, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced.

Taylor, 27, was immediately sentenced to life in prison without parole. It took the jury about five hours to reach its verdict.

Taylor was 25-years-old at the time of the shooting. According to the criminal complaint, he convinced Donquarius Copeland, who was 16-years-old at the time, and Derrick Catchings, who was 15-years-old, to shoot at Gomez and his friends in a north Minneapolis alley on Aug. 24, 2011.

His two accomplices pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of Gomez and testified against Taylor.

“These types of crimes shock the conscience of the whole community,” Freeman said. “Boys shooting boys, egged on by an adult, is sickening. Our prosecutors worked hard, taking the good evidence developed by Minneapolis Police and I’m pleased to say that Mr. Taylor will not be causing anymore death on our streets.”

According to the testimony in the case, Taylor was seeking revenge for his younger brother, who was wounded by a rival gang member.

Taylor drove a van and picked up Copeland and Catchings. When they spotted three teenagers riding bikes in the alley near 17th and Russell Avenues North, Taylor said they should go out and shoot them, according to the complaint.

Gomez was riding on the back of one bike. Gomez and the 12-year-old boy pedaling the bike were hit by gunshots. The second teen survived and their friend on the second bike was not hit by the gunfire. 

At his plea hearing, Catchings admitted Gomez was not the person they were looking for.