A St. Paul man is facing attempted murder charges in connection with Wednesday’s triple shooting in Maplewood that left three people wounded, one critically.
Brendon Garza, 23, was charged Friday in Ramsey County District Court with three counts of attempted murder and three counts of felony assault.
All three victims, identified as 12- and 15-year-old boys and a 21-year-old man, remain hospitalized, with the man in critical condition.
The shootings took place just before 5 p.m. in a residential neighborhood at S. McKnight Road and E. Pond Avenue. Investigators say the conflict stemmed from an apparent social media dispute.
According to the criminal complaint:
Two teenage boys were loading football equipment into a minivan when Garza pulled up in front of them in a Camaro. Surveillance footage from the parking lot shows the 21-year-old man approached Garza’s car with a handgun drawn at his side. As he leaned down to address the passengers, Garza crouched down beside the vehicle and eventually opened fire, striking the man four times, records show.
Bullets also sprayed the two nearby teens, hitting one in the chest and another in the armpit, according to charges.
The 21-year-old man jumped back into the minivan, where a woman drove him to Woodwinds Hospital in Woodbury. He was later transferred to Regions Hospital in St. Paul with injuries to his face, arm, legs and chest. The boys were taken to Regions via ambulance.
The 12-year-old is recovering from a collapsed lung, while the 15-year-old suffered numbness in his arm that could be permanent.
Police responding to the scene found Garza’s abandoned Camaro, 14 shell casings and the 21-year-old victim’s dropped handgun. Officers soon located Garza, whom authorities say still had the gun in his pocket.
“I had to — it was self-defense,” Garza allegedly told police. Two passengers in the Camaro claimed that the adult victim had acted in an “aggressive and threatening manner” when he approached their vehicle, but video evidence showed that the man never pointed his weapon toward Garza or anyone else, charges say.
One of the teenage victims told police that a passenger in the Camaro had asked the 21-year-old about a derogatory comment he’d made about the man’s deceased brother on social media.