Three women were shot and seriously wounded early Wednesday behind a home in north Minneapolis, and police are hunting for suspects in yet another round of gun-related violence on the North Side.
The latest bloodshed occurred about 1:30 a.m. in the 3500 block of Fremont Avenue N., less than a day after Police Chief Janeé Harteau and Mayor Betsy Hodges visited several North Side neighborhoods hit hard by recent violence. Over the July 4th weekend, two people were shot to death and three others were wounded by gunfire.
The crimes were part of a rising tide of violence in north Minneapolis, where police have reported 413 aggravated assaults so far this year, a 13 percent increase from last year.
More than 100 people gathered for a vigil Wednesday night in the north Minneapolis neighborhood where Cabrie D. Young, 28, and Francesca M. DeSandre, 24, were killed over the weekend. Young was shot at a home in the 3400 block of Dupont Avenue N. and DeSandre was shot at her home in the 2600 block of N. 3rd Street.
V.J. Smith, president of MAD DADS, said police need the public’s help to identify killers and those providing guns to young people. “It’s their job to put them in jail,” he said. “It’s our job to tell them who to put in jail.”
“We are killing ourselves,” the Rev. Harding Smith of the Spiritual Church of God shouted to the crowd.
A pair of men arrested in the two unrelated weekend killings were in custody Wednesday, one of them on probation for a gun violation from last year.
‘It was just crazy’
Asia Mosley, 29. Jessica Gaston, 36, and a third unidentified woman were in stable condition with noncritical wounds at North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale late Wednesday, according to a hospital spokeswoman, adding that many of the gunshot wounds were superficial and to limbs.
Sherrillyn Mosley said she came out of her home into the back yard, grabbed her daughter and said, “ ‘Wake up, wake up. Get up, Asia.’ And my baby wouldn’t respond.”
Asia Mosley was taken to North Memorial Medical Center. Her mother said she was in the intensive care unit.
“My daughter, she is going to be OK,” the mother continued, “but she has multiple gunshot wounds.”
“It was just crazy, and I just blacked out,” she said. “I just moved here. … We don’t have no enemies over here, so I don’t know” what prompted the shooting.
Alleged shooter on probation
A second-degree murder charge was filed Wednesday in Young’s death against Joseph Lee Smith, of Brooklyn Center. Smith remains jailed in lieu of $1 million bail ahead of a hearing Thursday in Hennepin County District Court.
According to the criminal complaint, Smith shot Young in the chest after the victim tried to help a man who was knocked out during a fight outside the home.
“This was not just a gangbanger; this was a beloved son,” Smith said at the vigil.
“Anybody who knew my son Cabrie, you know he had a soft soul,” said Young’s mother, Deborah Lott of Minneapolis. “You know he had a Kool-Aid smile, and you know he’ll make you laugh.”
At the time of Young’s death, Smith was on probation after pleading guilty in March to a gross misdemeanor for carrying a pistol without a permit.
His sentence could have led to a year in the county workhouse, but prosecutors negotiated a plea bargain that stayed the incarceration and placed Smith on two years’ supervised probation.
A felony charge of possessing a stolen firearm in the same case was dismissed against Smith.
The sentence drew a stern rebuke from City Council President Barbara Johnson, who represents and lives on the North Side.
“I’m tired of the latitude that is given to some of these offenders,” she said Wednesday.
A complicated case
It wasn’t quite that simple, said Hennepin County Judge Daniel H. Mabley, who presided over the case.
He said Smith was one of four people in a car that police stopped and searched, finding a stolen gun under the driver’s seat. The driver had a felony record and was sent to prison for 60 months for illegal possession of a firearm.
To prove Smith was also in possession of the same gun would have been difficult, Mabley said.
“I think what I heard the councilwoman say was ‘Give everyone the max,’ ” Mabley said, “and I can’t think that that’s a fair sentence if we don’t weigh the circumstances of the person involved and the crime involved. Otherwise we could turn judging over to computers.”
Most felons caught with a gun who come before the Hennepin County Court get prison time, he added.
Charges are pending in the killing of DeSandre and could come as soon as Thursday, according to the Hennepin County attorney’s office.
Police have yet to explain what led to either killing, but they have said more arrests are possible.
“[The shooters] keep getting closer and closer and closer to your doorstep,” K.G. Wilson, a peace activist, told the crowd.
“People need to realize that next time, it might be their son or daughter,” he said, adding that “they shoot females.”