Walz appointee let mass shooting suspect walk two months before shooting

A state lawmaker said it's time for judges and prosecutors to do their jobs.

Police secure the scene of Sunday's shooting outside Seventh Street Truck Park. (St. Paul Police Department/Facebook)

One state lawmaker is putting pressure on Minnesota’s judicial branch after a mass shooting left one dead and 14 injured in St. Paul early Sunday morning.

“Metro prosecutors and judges are putting Minnesotans in danger by failing to prosecute criminals who break the law,” said Rep. Marion O’Neill, a Republican from Maple Lake.

Her comments were made following revelations that Terry Lorenzo Brown, one of two men charged thus far in Sunday’s shooting, should have been in the Hennepin County workhouse at the time of the incident.

According to Crime Watch Minneapolis, Brown was convicted on a gross misdemeanor DWI charge in August and sentenced to 365 days in a correctional facility. But the bulk of that sentence was stayed by Hennepin County Judge Julia Dayton Klein, who credited Brown with 86 days already served, stayed the remaining 279 days, and put him on probation for five years, court documents confirm.

Klein was appointed by Gov. Tim Walz in June. She previously served as a board member for Women Winning, a left-wing group dedicated to electing “pro-choice women to all levels of public office.”

She was also involved in a lawsuit last year that sought to loosen absentee ballot requirements ahead of the 2020 elections.

Brown has an extensive criminal record that includes prior convictions for aggravated robbery and domestic assault. He now faces one count of intentional second-degree murder and 11 counts of attempted second-degree murder in connection to a mass shooting at Seventh Street Truck Park, near the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

According to St. Paul police, two other men were arrested in connection to the incident, but only one of them, Devondre Trevon Phillips, has been charged. Phillips faces 12 counts of attempted second-degree murder. As of Sunday, all three men were in the hospital and being treated for injuries.

The charging documents state that Brown and Phillips “are in a beef” because of Brown’s alleged abuse of his girlfriend, who is Phillips’ relative. Their “beef” took a deadly turn just after midnight Sunday when police responded to a scene that Chief Todd Axtell described as “hellish.”

One woman, 27-year-old Marquisha Wiley, was killed in the crossfire, the Pioneer Press first reported.

O’Neill, who sits on the House Public Safety Committee, said she has listened for years as Democrats “insist we need more gun control laws.”

“The reality is much more simple — we need to prosecute the laws we have on the books, and make sure that when people violate state law, they are held accountable. The suspects charged in this case were both violent felons, ineligible to possess firearms, and one had [a] one year sentence in the Hennepin County workhouse stayed by a judge that let him back on the street with a slap on the wrist,” she said.

“These failures of our justice system are having tragic and preventable consequences. We need all judges and prosecutors to do their jobs and keep Minnesotans safe.”