Two men, one from Richfield and one from St. Paul, have been charged in connection with an apparent gang-related altercation in north Minneapolis last week in which at least one shot was fired and an attempted carjacking was foiled.
Germaine Marquis Swingler, 22, of Richfield is charged with three felonies in the July 5 incident: first-degree assault of a peace officer, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $30,000 fine, with a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison; second-degree assault, which has a maximum penalty of seven years in prison and a $14,000 fine, with a minimum sentence of three years in prison; and carrying weapons without a permit, which has a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Deon Cameron Watkins, 22, of St. Paul is charged with felony second-degree assault. He is also charged with fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle, a felony with a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Swingler and Watkins remain in the Hennepin County Jail, Swingler on a $150,000 bond and Watkins on a $100,000 bond. Omnibus hearings are scheduled Aug. 7 for Swingler and Aug. 16 for Watkins, both in Hennepin County District Court.
According to the criminal complaints, signed by Minneapolis Police Sgt. Christopher Thomsen, a confidential informant told police on July 5 that two members of the Taliban gang were at a home in north Minneapolis, and that they had a gun and a “beef” with a rival gang.
Police set up surveillance in the area and watched as Swingler and Watkins, both identified as gang members, got into a car, then pulled alongside a car in which an undercover police officer was parked.
Swingler, the passenger, turned and faced the undercover officer, then raised a hand holding a pistol, the complaint says. The officer drew his weapon and aimed it at Swingler, who yelled something before the car sped away.
Police followed the car for more than a mile before it ended up turning into a parking lot in the 700 block of Aldrich Avenue North. Both Watkins, the driver, and Swingler jumped out of the car while it was still moving, and it crashed into a garage.
The two men ran in different directions, with officers in pursuit. Watkins was captured a short distance away.
An officer chasing Swingler glimpsed a handgun in his hand during the pursuit, and at one point Swingler turned around and aimed the gun at the officer, who fired back but missed, according to the complaint.
Swingler continued running onto the 800 block of Lyndale Place, where he confronted a woman sitting in her car. The woman told police later that Swingler demanded that she get out of the car and tried to pull her out, but as the officer got closer, Swingler began to run again.
Swingler ran onto a porch in the same block and tried to get into the home by shaking the door handle. The resident told police later that she didn’t know Swingler and yelled at him to get away from her house.
Swingler was caught and arrested a short time later. Officers retracing his route said they found a black handgun beneath some bushes in the 700 block of Aldrich Avenue.