A Minneapolis man is expected to be sentenced to more than six years in prison after admitting his role in a gang-related shooting that left a teenager paralyzed.
Laltigus Rodriguez Laray Lyons, 18, pleaded guilty Wednesday to aiding and abetting first-degree assault in the Jan. 6 shooting in Brooklyn Park. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Tuesday. His victim, who was 17 at the time of the shootings, was rendered paraplegic and will be in a wheelchair for the rest of his life.
In what Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman called “another case of senseless gun violence,” Lyons and a few friends approached a group of young men who had just left a birthday party shortly after midnight along Brookdale Drive near Welcome Avenue, according to a criminal complaint and testimony from the case.
According to charges, Lyons’ group was affiliated with the Stick Up Boys, a street gang, while the victim and his group were linked to the rival DGK gang. The victim and his group called out, “Are you SUB?” to Lyons and his group while identifying themselves as “Dirt Gang,” a reference to DGK. When the groups exchanged hostile words, charges say someone in Lyons’ group pulled a small-caliber revolver from his waistband and fired multiple shots, striking the victim in the back. A bullet lodged in his spinal cord. He and witnesses identified Lyons as the shooter through photographic lineups. In an interview, Lyons admitted to fighting but denied being the shooter.
However, he admitted to Judge Mark Wernick at his plea hearing Wednesday that he pointed out the victim to one of his associates, who had a gun. Lyons admitted he knew the shooter was going to fire at the victim. However, he refused to identify the shooter.
As the result of the plea deal, the more serious charge of aiding and abetting first-degree assault for the benefit of a gang was dropped, along with an extra anticipated two years of his prison sentence. The sentence fits what’s called for by Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines since he has no prior convictions, according to the county attorney’s office.