The March 6 murder of 30-year-old Imez Wright at George Floyd Square was related to an internal gang dispute, according to charges filed Monday in Hennepin County.
Shantaello Christianson, 31, has been charged with second-degree murder, first-degree riot causing death and prohibited person in possession of a firearm in Wright’s death.
The shooting took place just before 6 p.m. in front of Cup Foods, the same location where George Floyd died in police custody last May. Since then, a stretch of city blocks surrounding the intersection of East 38th Street and Chicago Avenue South have been transformed into an “autonomous zone” controlled by militant activists who berate reporters and interfere with first responders.
The charges against Christianson reveal that Wright was transported to the hospital by friends and was no longer at the scene when police arrived.
An early report from the Minneapolis Police Department said Wright was transported “to the entrance of the area” while police were en route, consistent with previous reports that police and first responders have asked for victims to be moved out of the autonomous zone.
When responding to a 911 call from the no-go zone Tuesday night, an officer said he “won’t be going in but will check around the area,” Crime Watch Minneapolis reported.
According to the charges, Christianson and Wright are both members of the Rolling 30s Bloods and were on opposite sides of an internal gang dispute.
Witnesses told officers that Christianson was parked near Cup Foods in a tan SUV with his wife and her cousin, who was first to exit the vehicle and approach the victim. As the cousin argued with Wright, Christianson stepped out of the driver-side door of the SUV and shot the victim multiple times, the charges state.
Christianson and his alleged accomplices then fled the scene while unidentified individuals returned fire at the getaway car.
Surveillance cameras captured the shooting on tape and confirmed the witness accounts.
Aftermath of a shooting at George Floyd memorial in #Minneapolis that left one man dead
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The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office said the SUV was registered to Christianson’s wife and was found a few days after the shooting in the parking lot of a Brooklyn Center hotel. Police watched Christianson and his wife exit the hotel before arresting them inside the SUV.
Christianson was carrying a duffle bag with a 9 mm Glock handgun and had an AR-style rifle inside the vehicle, the charges allege. He initially denied being present at the scene of the murder, but eventually confessed to driving the SUV to the scene when he was confronted with witness statements and surveillance footage.
“Defendant just laughed” when officers asked him about “the fact that he was caught on video exiting the driver-side door and shooting the victim,” according to the charges.
Christianson allegedly asked his interrogators if “witnesses were running their mouths.”
According to the criminal complaint filed against him, Christianson has previous convictions for aggravated robbery, drug possession, and rioting.
Wright’s death was at least the fourth murder in George Floyd Square since May.
A spokesperson for the National Police Association recently told Fox News that criminals are using the autonomous zone “to freely commit crimes.”