Minneapolis man sentenced to federal prison for Market Bar-B-Que armed robbery

An employee, Brian Kegel, tried to thwart the robbery and engaged in a physical altercation with Jama.

Abdiweli Mohamed Jama/Sherburne County Jail

A Minneapolis man has been sentenced to 12 years in federal prison for the 2020 robbery of a Minneapolis restaurant during which an employee was shot.

Abdiweli Mohamed Jama, 32, was sentenced last week in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis to 144 months in prison after pleading guilty last fall to interference with commerce by robbery under the Hobbs Act and one count of discharging a firearm during a crime of violence.

The robbery occurred on Nov. 9, 2020, just after 11 p.m. at Market Bar-B-Que on Lowry Avenue in Northeast Minneapolis.

An employee, Brian Kegel, tried to thwart the robbery and engaged in a physical altercation with Jama. During the altercation, Jama’s pistol discharged, and Kegel was struck in the shoulder and the knee.

Details from court documents state Kegel was working at the front counter when the suspect approached him and pulled a gun from his parka. Before the suspect said anything, Kegel lunged at the suspect and struggled with him. During the struggle, the gun went off. Hearing the struggle, another employee approached and attempted to punch the suspect and put him in a choke hold. At that point, the suspect got up and fled through the front door.

A fundraiser set up by a coworker for Kegel raised over $25,000 following the robbery and shooting. A message by the organizer on the GoFundMe page stated, “On the evening of November 9, in a heroic act of courage, Brian, the manager of Market BBQ foiled an attempted armed burglary. While protecting the entire staff, Brian successfully disarmed the culprit and saved the other employees from endangerment. While doing this act of bravery he sustained two gunshot wounds.”

Court documents also detail another robbery committed by Jama two days after the Market Bar-B-Que robbery. On Nov. 11, 2020, Jama robbed a gas station in St. Michael, Minn. and implied he had a gun while doing so. As part of a plea agreement, a charge in that robbery was dismissed.

Federal inmates must serve a minimum of 85% of their sentence incarcerated, unlike Minnesota sentencing that only requires offenders to serve two-thirds of their sentence incarcerated.

Following Jama’s release from prison he will be placed on supervised release for five years.

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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.