Man sentenced to 69 years for Minneapolis mass shooting

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16 Dec 2022, 8:01 pm

Man sentenced to 69 years for shooting outside Minneapolis club that killed 2, hurt 7

The man convicted of killing two people and wounding seven outside a Minneapolis nightclub last year was sentenced to 69 years in prison Friday for what a Hennepin County prosecutor called one of the most violent mass shootings in the city's history.

Nearly two months after a Hennepin County jury took four hours to find Jawan C. Carroll, 25, of St. Paul guilty on two counts of second-degree murder and seven counts of attempted second-degree murder for the shooting outside the downtown Monarch nightclub on May 22, 2021, Carroll offered his condolences while standing by his argument that he fired in self-defense.

Judge Paul Scoggin said that just as jurors rejected that claim, he also found the self-defense argument challenging when reviewing surveillance video from that night. He said that Carroll went downtown "loaded and ready to go" knowing the likelihood of something like this happening, considering Carroll's history of gang and gun violence.

"You hopped on that train years before, and it finally crashed," he said.

Carroll shot and killed his intended victim, Christopher R. Jones Jr., 24, of Brooklyn Park. Seven bystanders were wounded, and a stray bullet struck Charlie B. Johnson, 21, of Golden Valley in the back as he ran away from the chaotic scene where he died, just hours away from graduating from the University of St. Thomas.

"Charlie was the opposite of the violence that took his life," his father, Greg Johnson, said.

He told the judge through tears that his daughter Camille walked up on stage at commencement to accept her brother's mechanical engineering diploma. It was 12 hours after she called her parents to tell them about the shooting.

"That's what courage looks like," Greg Johnson said.

Surveillance video showed that one of Carroll's friends punched Jones after some dialogue. Gunfire erupted within seconds, sending Saturday night bar-close patrons scattering as 23 bullets were exchanged on crowded sidewalks.

Carroll's attorney, Bruce Rivers, said 10 shots came from Carroll and that Jones, armed with a fully automatic Glock, fired 13 times.

Police recognized Carroll in the video from previous law enforcement encounters. They say he's associated with the Tre Tres street gang, according to the criminal charges.

"The gun violence in young Black men is an epidemic that has to stop," Rivers said, as he asked Scoggin to impose a 30-year sentence.

Prosecutor Joshua Larson told Scoggin they were seeking a 102-year sentence because the shooting was unprecedented and the sentence should reflect that. He said a presentence investigation found that Carroll's actions were reckless, brazen and illustrate how Carroll is "deeply enmeshed in gang culture."

Larson referred to Carroll's act as the most violent mass shooting prosecuted in Minneapolis history. In 2012, a gunman killed six people and injured two at Accent Signage in Minneapolis before turning the gun on himself in what is considered the state's deadliest workplace shooting. The suicide left no one to prosecute.

Through his job as a prosecutor, Larson said he remembers Carroll from when he was a teenager, after Carroll's best friend was killed by gang violence in 2015. He recalls how Carroll said he started the altercation that led to his friend's death. Afterward, he said that Carroll said he would change his life and "remove himself from gang rivalry."

Instead, Larson said Carroll chose to embrace it, "to be the gunman and be the gangster."

Carroll asked the families of his unintended victims for forgiveness and told the Johnsons that the "door will always be open" if they wish to speak to him.

As for Jones, Carroll said that he was "armed and dangerous." He asked the judge to put himself in his shoes.

"Ask yourself: What would you do?" Carroll said.

Scoggin said he recalls Carroll saying in passing that he was executing his Second Amendment right to bear arms that night.

"I don't think that's what the founding fathers meant to protect, sir," he said.

Reading from a folded piece of paper that he pulled from his black suit, Carroll said the system failed him and his family. He said he was "swindled in my due process when it only took four hours for the jury" to convict him.

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