A longtime criminal was in court Tuesday on charges that he fatally shot a woman who was six months pregnant with their child but still gave birth to a girl weighing less than 2 pounds.
Zachary V. Robinson, 27, of St. Paul, was booked into the Hennepin County jail Monday night ahead of a court appearance on second-degree murder and other charges in connection with the shooting on July 5 of Leneesha H. Columbus, 27. Bail was set at $1.5 million, and he's due back in court on Aug. 25.
Columbus was shot during an argument while sitting in an SUV near the memorial to George Floyd, who died on May 25 while being detained by police.
Paramedics took her to HCMC, where she gave birth that night before being pronounced dead from a gunshot to her upper torso despite the lifesaving efforts of bystanders, the charges filed on July 8 noted.
With an additional count added last week to account for the newborn's critical state, Robinson now stands charged with second-degree intentional murder, first-degree assault on an unborn child, second-degree assault and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
The amended complaint filed on July 23 spelled out in detail the precarious medical condition of the infant and revealed that she weighed 31½ ounces at birth about six months into the pregnancy.
"The baby victim suffers from hypotension, neonatal seizures, neonatal jaundice, had a successful cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and continues to suffer from respiratory distress in critical condition," the charging document read. "Withdrawal of medical treatment would result in organ failure and/or fatal deterioration."
A GoFundMe page established to help the family with expenses said on July 21 that the baby "is growing very healthy. Her heart is strong." The girl is named Leneesha, in her mother's memory, said Markisha Hester, Columbus' sister.
A man who had been "working in a peacekeeping role" at the memorial to Floyd confronted Robinson about shooting the woman, the complaint said. Robinson then shot the man in the right foot, the charges noted.
Tips received by police described Robinson as the newborn's father and Columbus as his wife, according to the charges. Others have described them as boyfriend and girlfriend.
Robinson has a long and violent criminal history in Hennepin County that dates back at least to when he was 15 years old. He's been convicted on five counts of assault in connection with two cases, and he has cases pending on other assault and firearms possession allegations in the county.
In addition, Hennepin County prosecutors charged Robinson with first-degree riot for his role in a June 14 gun battle in north Minneapolis during which one man was fatally shot in the head.
The conflict began at Broadway Pub & Grille, and the gunfire erupted soon afterward, with most shots fired outside the 4th Street Saloon two blocks west of Broadway Pub.