Twin Cities weekend crime recap

A man who allegedly made threats with a gun at a gay bar in Minneapolis has two prior felony convictions on felon in possession of a firearm, as well as a conviction on first-degree burglary of an occupied dwelling.

Conell Walter Harris/Sherburne County Jail

Austin Robert LeClaire, 26, of Plymouth was charged Thursday in Hennepin County District Court with second-degree attempted murder in relation to a Nov. 25 shooting in Plymouth that left his 23-year-old girlfriend with a gunshot to the head and in critical condition with permanent, serious, life-threatening injuries, according to the criminal complaint.

Charges say there had been a party at a Plymouth residence on the 14300 block of 40th Place North during which one person later told police LeClaire and his girlfriend had argued. LeClaire also sent text messages to two different people indicating he was “irate” with his girlfriend in one message, and in another message said, “she has me so pissed off ims [sic] lose my cool.”

LeClaire left the scene of the shooting and was eventually apprehended in Clark County, Wis. In a statement, he told police he had thrown his gun onto a table in the garage where he was arguing with his girlfriend. When he turned to leave, he said he “heard a noise,” but left and went to a nearby gas station. A gas station employee later told police that a male matching LeClaire’s description had come into the store with a gun in his waistband with a large magazine protruding from it. The employee said the male was on the phone with someone and was saying, “What do I do,” repeatedly. The male bought cigarettes and then left in a vehicle at a high rate of speed.

The adult male who originally told police about the party and argument also told police that LeClaire had called him and said his gun went off and hit the victim and he didn’t know what to do.

LeClaire remained in custody on Monday on $500,000 bail. Court records show LeClaire has retained a private attorney and is scheduled to make his next court appearance on Dec. 21.

Conell Walter Harris, Jr., 30, was transferred into federal custody Thursday from Hennepin County Jail where he had been jailed since Monday, Nov. 28 after allegedly making threats with a gun at the 19 Bar, a gay bar in Minneapolis on West 15th Street in the Loring Park neighborhood.

According to charges, Harris entered the bar and was acting strangely. Harris then became upset when asked for identity by staff. Another bartender told Harris he needed to leave. Harris then said, “I ain’t going nowhere,” and pulled out a gun and held it in his hand. Harris then squared up with the bartender and made verbal threats when a bar patron tried to deescalate the situation. Harris then exited the bar while yelling derogatory slurs in a death threat and stated he had a gun. Police arrived and apprehended Harris after he had entered the bar again.

Harris, who is a multi-time convicted felon prohibited from possessing guns, was charged in Hennepin County District Court following the incident with counts of felon in possession of a firearm and threats of violence, both felonies. Harris has two prior felony convictions on felon in possession of a firearm, as well as a conviction on first-degree burglary of an occupied dwelling. All are classified in Minnesota statues as violent crimes.

Harris has been charged in federal court with being a felon in possession of a firearm. He remained in federal custody as of Monday.

Minneapolis police on Thursday engaged in the pursuit of a vehicle they said was wanted in connection to an aggravated kidnapping out of St. Paul, according to dispatch audio. The pursuit started near 24th and Harriet Avenue South and crashed a short distance later near 28th and Grand Avenue South.

When police arrived at the crash, they noted there was a child in the vehicle who did not appear to be injured. Police requested EMS as a precaution to check the child.

Jail and court records show that Andrew Lee Turnipseed, 29, of St. Paul was taken into custody and was subsequently charged with one count of felony domestic assault.

Charges say Turnipseed’s girlfriend reported to St. Paul police that he had struck her while they were inside a vehicle on I-94 along with their 2-year-old child. Turnipseed reportedly told the woman he should push her out of the vehicle in front of a passing semi-truck. When they arrived at their destination in St. Paul, the woman exited the vehicle while Turnipseed tried to physically keep her from leaving by grabbing her and causing scratches to her neck. Turnipseed then took off in the vehicle with their child still in the vehicle.

Turnipseed has a history of convictions on domestic assault and violating orders for protection.

Turnipseed remained in custody on Monday on $30,000 bail.

Brooklyn Park police provided an update on Thursday regarding the double shooting on Nov. 18 that resulted in injury to one teen and the death of a 17-year-old boy. The shooting victims had originally been found by State Patrol in a vehicle on I-94 and 53rd Avenue North. Police said it was later determined that the shooting had occurred at the Regent Apartments on the 8400 block of Regent Avenue North, and the victims drove to where they were discovered on I-94.

The new update provided by Brooklyn Park Police Chief Mark Bruley stated that the vehicle had been occupied by four people at the time of the shooting and that two of those people, both 17-year-old males, had been arrested on aiding and abetting murder. The chief said it had been determined that the gunfire that injured one and killed another had come from inside the vehicle. The shots fired had been directed outside the vehicle, and the two people shot inside the vehicle were reportedly “unintended targets.” The chief said their investigation determined that no shots had been fired from outside toward the vehicle. Two guns without serial numbers, which the chief described as “ghost guns,” were confiscated during a subsequent search warrant at the home of the two arrested parties.

The chief clarified the sequence of events and said that evidence indicated that the vehicle had stopped at one point after the shooting and occupants of the vehicle took time to hide the guns and then continued on to I-94 when they called police for the victims who were shot.

The chief indicated police were still seeking to speak to the third individual in the vehicle.

The decedent in the double shooting has been identified as Syoka Siko, 17.

The two arrested teens, who are twin brothers — and one of whom was the other injured party — were charged Friday in juvenile court, albeit only on weapons charges of possessing a gun with no serial number and underage possession of a gun, the Star Tribune reported. Despite the police chief stating they believed they had the shooter in custody, neither teen has been charged directly in the murder of Siko at this time.

Brooklyn Park police said the investigation remains open and active.

Two former Hennepin County employees were charged Friday related to alleged theft and fraud schemes that spanned years and profited them nearly $4 million from stolen equipment and timecard fraud, charges say.

Nguyen Cong Le, 41, and Samantha Marks, 37, both of Columbus, Minn., have been separately charged in Hennepin County District Court with felony counts of theft by swindle — six against Le and two against Marks.

Charges allege Le stole and resold computer networking hardware from the county for over seven years for which he reaped nearly $4 million in profit, and hired his romantic partner, Marks, who then rarely showed up for work and engaged in years of timecard fraud reaping over $280,000 in pay and benefits. Read the full report from Alpha News.

Police in Northeast Minneapolis responded to a shooting homicide Saturday about 11:40 p.m. inside the Spring Street Tavern at 355 Monroe Street Northeast. Dispatch audio at the time indicated that victim had been shot in the chest, and the white male suspect was still on site. When police arrived, they told the dispatcher that CPR was in progress. Within minutes, police aired that medical responders had declared the victim deceased and the crime scene was taped off.

The Minneapolis Police Department confirmed in a press release that a male in his 30s had died at the scene from his injuries and that a male in his 40s had been arrested and subsequently hospitalized with injuries received before police arrived at the scene.

The medical examiner has since identified Kenneth Todd Rodriguez, 37, of Minneapolis as the decedent in the shooting.

Several sources relayed to Crime Watch that Rodriguez was a member of the Hells Angels. Rodriguez’s Facebook account appears to confirm that fact.

The 42-year-old suspect remained in custody at Hennepin County Jail and had not been formally charged as of Monday afternoon.

Police in Fridley responded Friday night to a report of staff at Mercy Hospital-Unity Campus being assaulted outside the emergency room, according to dispatch audio. The hospital is located at 550 Osborne Road Northeast.

Kelly Lewis Korf (Anoka County Jail)

Booking records show that Kelly Lewis Korf, 50, of Blaine was arrested and booked into custody on probable cause charges of fourth- and fifth-degree assault, trespassing, and disorderly conduct. Jail records show that Korf was released from custody at some point on Saturday. Information about formal charges or what may have led to the altercation was not immediately available.




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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.


Crime Watch MN

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