A longtime criminal was charged Wednesday with shooting a woman who was five months pregnant with their child; she was taken from the south Minneapolis crime scene to the hospital, where she gave birth that night before dying.
Zachary V. Robinson, 27, of Minneapolis, remains at large and is charged in Hennepin County District Court with second-degree murder, second-degree assault and being a felon in possession of a firearm in connection with the shooting Sunday night of Leneesha H. Columbus, 27.
Columbus was shot while sitting in an SUV near the memorial to George Floyd, who died on May 25 while being detained by police.
Paramedics took Columbus 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 noted.
The baby was in critical condition, according to the charging document, which was filed late Wednesday morning.
“My sister leaves behind three children with no mother to raise them,” read a posting to a GoFundMe page created to help family who are stepping in to care for the children. “Leneesha was a loving mother, sister, cousin and friend to all. She brought light and love where ever she went. She was the heart of the neighborhood.”
A nationwide warrant has been issued for the arrest of Robinson, whose “whereabouts are unknown,” the charges said.
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 responded, “Don’t talk to me,” and then shot the man in the right foot, the charges said.
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 cases in the county.
According to the complaint:
Witnesses saw Columbus in the stopped SUV at E. 37th Street and S. Chicago Avenue arguing with Robinson before three shots were fired. The vehicle traveled one block before coming to a halt.
A family member in the SUV got out and screamed for help as Robinson fled the scene.
Tips received by police described Robinson as the newborn’s father and Columbus as his wife.
Charles M. Dillon, a radio personality at KMOJ-FM who also goes by the name Chaz Millionaire, said on Facebook that Columbus was his niece.
Columbus wrote on her Facebook page that she was a model and publicist for Dawgy Entertainment, a Minneapolis music company.
“We are devastated over the news about Leneesha Helen Columbus,” the company said on its Facebook page.
Columbus’ death is one of 31 homicides so far this year in Minneapolis.