Former Gang Member, Two Others Charged in Drive-By Shooting of Two Women

Lewis, formerly of the north Minneapolis Stick Up Boys Gang, has a criminal history stretching back to at least 2009 at the age of 17 when he received a felony conviction for simple robbery for the benefit of a gang.

Antonio Cortez Lewis (Photo: Hennepin County Sheriff)

A barrage of gunfire rang out in the early Sunday morning hours of March 24, followed by a ShotSpotter alert to police indicating twenty-seven rounds had been fired nearby. Police would shortly discover a residence pierced by gunfire and two women who had been shot inside the upper unit of the duplex where four children were also residing at the time of the shooting.

The information is detailed in a new criminal complaint naming Antonio Cortez Lewis, 27, of Minneapolis, as one of three defendants in the drive-by shooting case.

Details from the criminal complaint state that officers were sitting in their vehicles in the parking lot of Minneapolis’ 4th Precinct police station on Plymouth Avenue North when they heard a large amount of gunfire coming from south of the precinct.

Other officers in the area aired over the radio that they heard the same thing. As the officers responded to the sound of shots, a ShotSpotter alert indicated shots in the area of the 700 block of Penn Avenue North.

Officers responding to the ShotSpotter alert arrived on a shooting scene at the Penn Avenue address and found two women on the floor inside the residence with gunshot wounds. One was shot in the ankle/calf area, the other woman received injuries to her hand and another grazing wound to her back. Witnesses at the scene and others subsequently interviewed told police that prior to the shooting there had been an altercation between two groups of females. One of the witnesses said that a male identified as Lewis had been present with another male outside the residence on Penn Avenue at the time of the shooting, according to the complaint.

Other officers arriving in the area saw a white sedan leaving the area of the shots. The vehicle was occupied by three black males and its headlights were off. Upon observing the sedan, officers heard the radio dispatch confirming that there were shooting victims at the Penn Avenue address. Officers shined a spotlight on the vehicle while giving commands to the occupants to put their hands up. The males ignored the commands and the vehicle took off from the scene still with no headlights, the complaint says.

Jamar Rashad Mclane (Photo: MN Dept. of Corrections)

When officers caught up to the vehicle it was stopped in the middle of the street on the 1700 block of Morgan Avenue North with doors open and they saw one male fleeing on foot. Police found a .45 caliber handgun in the vehicle and apprehended the fleeing male a short distance away near North Commons Park. The suspect apprehended was identified as co-defendant in the case, Jamar Rashad Mclane, 32, of Brooklyn Park. The others seen fleeing were not immediately apprehended according to the complaint. Lewis was eventually apprehended and booked into Hennepin County Jail on May 17.

Lewis, formerly of the north Minneapolis Stick Up Boys Gang, has a criminal history stretching back to at least 2009 at the age of 17 when he received a felony conviction for simple robbery for the benefit of a gang. Lewis received a plea bargain in that case dismissing two other felony charges of riot and assault for the benefit of a gang in exchange for the guilty plea and a 40-month prison sentence. The case stemmed from a gang-related riot, assault and robbery at the Hennepin County Juvenile Detention Center in January of that year when several teens assaulted and robbed a teacher at the facility and assaulted a 15-year-old who was purportedly from another gang.

The 2009 conviction and Lewis’ two other felony convictions involving illegal possession of a firearm make him ineligible to possess a firearm. Officers conducting a search of the vehicle used in the drive-by shooting located a cell phone which was later determined to belong to Lewis. The phone contained at least two videos created in the hours and days just prior to the drive-by shooting which clearly showed Lewis handling a black handgun in both videos, according to the complaint.

Lewis has been charged with two felony counts of dangerous weapons – drive-by shooting and prohibited person in possession of ammo/firearm. Mclane, who has a 2006 conviction for 2nd degree attempted murder, has been charged with two felony counts of dangerous weapons – drive-by shooting – aid/abet and fleeing police in a motor vehicle. A third defendant, Ciara Catrice Arnez Champion, 20, of Minneapolis, has been charged with felony drive-by shooting – aid/abet in the case and was booked into Hennepin County jail on April 2. Her exact role in the incident is not made clear in the Lewis criminal complaint.

The two female shooting victims received non-life-threatening injuries. Lewis and Mclane are currently in custody in Hennepin County Jail. Lewis’ next court appearance is scheduled for June 20, Mclane’s next appearance is scheduled for May 28. Champion was released from jail on conditions with no bail required. Her next court appearance is scheduled for June 7.

There is also some speculation that the March 24 drive-by shooting may have spurred another drive-by shooting just a week later in which one man was killed and another critically injured on North 7th Street heading toward downtown Minneapolis. The victims in that shooting had been Facebook livestreaming when the shooting began.

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Minnesota Crime Watch & Information offers citizen-powered crime, public safety and livability news, information and commentary.

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