A Blaine man opened fire on a car full of people leaving a St. Paul gas station Wednesday evening before being shot and wounded by a U.S. marshal who happened to be refueling at a nearby pump, according to charges filed Friday.
Alize Jovon Cleaves, 24, has been charged with two counts of felony assault and discharging a weapon at an occupied vehicle. He was treated for noncritical injuries to his shoulder at Regions Hospital and released Friday into the custody of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA). He is being held in the Ramsey County jail.
According to the criminal complaint, Cleaves got into a verbal altercation at a Holiday gas station at E. 7th and Kittson streets around 5 p.m. The man he was arguing with got back in his car, with two passengers, and started driving away.
Cleaves reached inside his own vehicle, pulled out a .45-caliber handgun and sprayed the car with bullets, charges say. Gunfire struck the vehicle at least three times; no occupants were injured.
Three deputy U.S. marshals saw the shooting. One, who was pumping gas, drew his service weapon, identified himself and ordered Cleaves to drop the gun. Instead, Cleave turned toward the officer.
That's when the deputy, "fearing for the safety of the other customers at the gas station, the other deputy U.S. marshals [sitting inside the car], and for his own life, shot Cleave twice," according to the criminal complaint.
No officers were hurt in the encounter, which is under investigation by the BCA. Security-camera video captured portions of the incident.
Crime-scene technicians found a gun near where Cleaves was injured, along with several bullet casings.
In an interview, Cleaves admitted firing five or six shots at the car "to protect his family," claiming the man he'd argued with had insinuated he was armed.
Cleaves told authorities he bought his own firearm on the street. He said he heard the deputy yell commands to drop the gun but did not immediately do so.
Cleaves has a felony conviction for aiding an offender/being an accomplice after the fact related to a 2017 shooting outside a downtown Minneapolis bar. He served 18 months at St. Cloud prison.
When the BCA investigation is complete, findings will be presented to the Ramsey County Attorney's Office.