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Man sentenced to 10 years in shooting death near Grand Metro station

Craig LeFebvre was an unintended victim, caught in an argument that started a short time earlier at a restaurant about a mile north of where he was shot.

ST. LOUIS — A St. Louis man on Tuesday pleaded guilty in connection with the August 2018 shooting death of a public health educator who worked on gun violence prevention programs.

Armani McKinley and another man, Antreion Betts, were charged with second-degree murder, armed criminal action and first-degree robbery, all felonies, about five months after the death of Craig LeFebvre, who was waiting for a Metro Bus at the Grand transit station in Midtown St. Louis.

LeFebvre, 48, worked for the St. Louis County Health Department. He also helped children who had experienced trauma.

LeFebvre was an unintended victim, police said, caught in an argument that started a short time earlier at a Chipotle restaurant about a mile north of where he was shot.

Credit: Brad LeFebvre
Craig LeFebvre is shown in an undated photo provided by his family in 2018.

The argument continued to the transit station, where McKinley and Betts tried to rob Devin Smith at gunpoint. Smith, 34, fired his gun at the men, and the bullet struck LeFebvre in the chest. McKinley was grazed in the face.

St. Louis police detectives reviewed surveillance video from the transit station and saw Smith interacting with a group of people, including McKinley, prior to the shooting. McKinley is then shown passing a gun to another person.

Police also found Betts’ fingerprints on Smith's personal property.

McKinley, 24, and Betts, 22, of Velda City, were charged under Missouri's accomplice liability law, which allows murder charges to be filed against robbery suspects if someone dies, regardless of who fired the shot.

In a 2020 interview, Brad LeFebvre said his brother took public transportation roundtrip every day from his home in south St. Louis to work in Berkeley. He was on his way home when he was shot.

Credit: St. Louis City Justice Center
Armani McKinley, 24, is show in an undated mugshot.

As part of a plea deal, Circuit Judge Scott Millikan sentenced McKinley to 10 years in prison.

Prosecutors dropped the charges against Betts in connection with LeFebvre's death, however he pleaded guilty felony charges in two other cases—a shootout at the Delmar Loop MetroLink station in September 2018 that injured a 23-year-old woman and a robbery near the Union Station MetroLink station in January 2018.

Millikan sentenced Betts to 10 years in prison.

Three other men—Dejon Brown, 28, Antwain Davis, 28, and Ronnie Pope, 22, all of St. Louis—pleaded guilty last fall for their involvement in LeFebvre's death and received 12-year sentences.

Smith was sentenced in February 2019 to five years in prison for being a felon in possession of a gun but was released in November 2019, according to a spokeswoman for the Missouri Department of Corrections.

Brad LeFebvre said what he misses most about his brother is his kindness.

“He was the just that kind of a person that would go above and beyond to help people and to empathize with people and to, frankly, educate himself as to what struggles others were having so that he could better understand them,” he said.

Prosecutors said LeFebvre's death opened up an investigation relying on MetroLink surveillance, witness statements, conversations in jail and social media that led them to "a coordinated group of individuals who regularly engaged in a pattern of violent criminal conduct on Metro property."

"This criminal enterprise targeted vulnerable and isolated people on trains and platforms, typically engaging their victims in conversation before surrounding them, robbing and assaulting them," the St. Louis Circuit Attorney's office said in a statement, adding that the group would use violent force or display guns.

In total, 12 people were charged in connection with multiple armed robberies in 2018 at five MetroLink stations. All but two of them have pleaded guilty, and have received prison time or probation.


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