Gang member who executed rival will be free in 6 years

The "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."

Shantaello Christianson/Hennepin County Sheriff's Office

A gang member who murdered a rival earlier this year will spend just 6½ years in prison for the cold-blooded killing.

Shantaello Christianson, 31, was charged with second-degree murder, first-degree riot causing death and felony firearm possession in the March 6 slaying of 30-year-old Imez Wright.

But under the terms of a plea deal announced last week, Christianson will no longer face any murder charges.

Instead, he will receive 120 months for a first-degree manslaughter count and 60 months for being a felon in possession of a firearm, according to the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office.

These sentences will run concurrently and Christianson will be back on the streets in roughly 6½ years, since offenders are only required to serve two-thirds of their sentence incarcerated under Minnesota law, Crime Watch Minneapolis reports.

Christianson killed Wright just before 6 p.m. on March 6 in front of Cup Foods in Minneapolis, the same location where George Floyd died.

At the time of the murder, a stretch of city blocks surrounding the area was transformed into an “autonomous zone” controlled by militant activists who berated reporters and interfered with first responders.

The criminal complaint filed against Christianson reveals that Wright was transported to the hospital by friends and was no longer at the scene when police arrived.

According to the complaint, Christianson and Wright were 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 the 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.

The aftermath of the shooting was recorded by a bystander.

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 charging document says. 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.

The “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 criminal complaint.

Christianson allegedly asked his interrogators if “witnesses were running their mouths.”

Christianson has previous convictions for aggravated robbery, drug possession, and rioting.