A 28-year-old man has been arrested in connection to the drive-by shooting of a group of Minnesota National Guard soldiers this week that left two injured.
The Minnesota U.S. Attorney’s Office charged Andrew Thomas with one count of illegal possession of a firearm on Monday. Minneapolis police say they arrested Thomas Sunday night driving the vehicle caught on camera during the shooting.
On Sunday, at 4:20 a.m., multiple shots were fired out of a light-colored SUV passing the team of soldiers, along with a Minneapolis police officer, near Penn Avenue North and West Broadway Avenue. One of the shots pierced the windshield of a vehicle with four soldiers inside, according to charging documents. One soldier was injured by broken glass; the other sustained “superficial injuries,” the Minnesota U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
“I am relieved to know none of our Guardsmen were seriously injured,” said Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Shawn Manke earlier this week. “This event highlights the volatility and tension in our communities right now. I ask for peace as we work through this difficult time.”
The soldiers are part of Operation Safety Net, a joint effort among the Minneapolis Police Department, Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, the State of Minnesota and local jurisdictions that have been activated in response to protests of police violence in the Twin Cities.
Many have been critical of the armed military presence in their communities. Popular chants included demands for the soldiers to “Go home” last week in Brooklyn Center, where hundreds of demonstrators turned out multiple nights in a row in response to a police officer killing Daunte Wright, an unarmed Black man in that city.
Hours after the shooting, around 10 p.m. on Sunday, police officers spotted an SUV matching the description in south Minneapolis and pulled the vehicle over. Police found two guns in the car and arrested Thomas, the driver, according to charges.
Thomas, who court records list with a Minneapolis or a Chicago address, was barred from legally possessing a gun based on a 2017 felony third-degree assault conviction in Hennepin County.
Thomas was booked in Hennepin County jail, and was released to the custody of U.S. marshals on Tuesday morning.
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