Federal charges for three Twin Cities men in connection to arson at Target HQ

Minneapolis experienced arson, rioting, and looting following the August suicide of a suspect in a homicide.

Shador Tommie Cortez Jackson, Victor Devon Edwards, Leroy Lemonte Perry Williams

Three Twin Cities men are facing federal charges for their role in the arson at Target Corporation headquarters in downtown Minneapolis during riots that took place in late August following a false report of an officer-involved shooting.

U.S. Attorney Erica MacDonald announced a federal indictment Thursday charging Shador Tommie Cortez Jackson, 24, of Richfield, Victor Devon Edwards, 31, of St. Paul, and Leroy Lemonte Perry Williams, 34, of Minneapolis, with one count each of conspiracy to commit arson.

According to allegations in the federal indictment and documents filed with the court, on Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020, Minneapolis experienced arson, rioting, and looting following the suicide of a suspect in a homicide, and in response to false rumors surrounding the man’s death.

Crime Watch Minneapolis and others posted on Twitter in the immediate aftermath of the suicide as crowds were becoming agitated downtown while the false rumor spread.

The complaints filed against Jackson, Edwards and Williams say they went to the Target Corporation’s corporate headquarters building located at 1000 Nicollet Mall where dozens of other people had gathered. Jackson used a construction sign to break through one of the glass doors into the Target Corporation building.

Still image from U.S. Attorney

The complaint says that Jackson, Edwards and Williams, along with others who haven’t been identified, breached the doors and entered the Target Corporation building. Once inside, Jackson intentionally set a fire on a counter inside the mailroom while Edwards stood nearby.

Edwards later added a liquid accelerant to the fire located on the mailroom counter with the intent to fuel the existing fire. Jackson attempted to light a second fire in the mailroom on top of cardboard boxes using a lighter and a bottle of ignitable liquid. Jackson, Edwards and Williams, along with the unidentified others, then ran out of the building together using the same door. Williams subsequently re-entered the building and attempted to light a fire inside the building entrance before leaving the scene.

Still image from U.S. Attorney

A check of Minnesota court records shows that Jackson was convicted in Hennepin County in Sept. 2019 on two felony counts of aiding and abetting second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon. In that case, Jackson was sentenced to 72 months in prison on each count. However, the felony sentences were stayed (not executed) by Judge Kathryn L. Quaintance. Jackson was instead sentenced to 365 days in jail on work release, granted furlough for treatment and placed on probation for five years.

Edwards has prior felony convictions in Hennepin County for third-degree criminal sexual conduct and theft, as well as other convictions for child endangerment, DWI, and several convictions for driving after revocation or cancellation. In both felony convictions, Edwards was granted a stay of execution or imposition and was placed on probation.

Records show that Williams has a lengthy record of convictions including two for burglary, two for weapons and several for theft. All four convictions involving burglary or weapons were stayed or reduced by Hennepin County courts, as were most of the theft convictions.

This federal arson case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Chelsea A. Walcker and is the result of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), the Minneapolis Fire Department, and the Minneapolis, Bloomington, and Richfield Police Departments.

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Minnesota Crime Watch & Information publishes news, info and commentary about crime, public safety and livability issues in Minneapolis, the Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota.