Man charged in Maplewood triple-shooting involving 2 children


Brendon Joseph Garza

A 23-year-old St. Paul man faces six criminal charges in connection with an Aug. 7 Maplewood shooting that injured three people, including two boys.

Brendan Joseph Garza was charged Aug. 9 with three counts of attempted second-degree murder, one count of first-degree assault and two counts of second-degree assault. The late afternoon shooting was likely in connection to an alleged social media dispute, court documents say.

The maximum penalty for second-degree attempted murder is 20 years.

The shooting, which remains under investigation, took place in a parking lot in the 400 block of McKnight Road South in the south end of the city. Police say all three male victims, ages 12, 15 and 21, are now in stable condition. The 21-year-old was previously critically injured.

Court documents say the 12-year-old was carrying football equipment to a minivan while the 15-year-old followed as the boys prepared to head to football practice. A Chevrolet Camaro then pulled into the apartment complex’s parking lot and stopped in front of the van, as captured on security video.

Garza and a male passenger got out of the Camaro. The 21-year-old, who was sitting in the minivan, also exited and approached the Camaro holding a handgun at his side, court documents say.

Witnesses told police the 21-year-old walked up to the Camaro in an “aggressive and threatening manner” and asked what they were doing, warning the occupants to “watch out,” court documents say. 

The Camaro passengers reportedly asked the 21-year-old if he made insulting comments about a man named Aaron, who police say was fatally shot two years prior. Aaron was the passenger’s brother and the 21-year-old denied having any knowledge of the comment.

The men circled around the Camaro before Garza allegedly shot at the three victims. The passenger fled as soon as Garza began shooting. 

Security video shows the 21-year-old dropped his handgun and ran from Garza’s gunshots. Court documents say he never pointed his gun at Garza or the other man.

The two boys ran behind vehicles in the parking lot for cover before running away. Garza ran off and the 21-year-old got into the minivan and drove away, court documents say.

The 12-year-old’s father later secured the 21-year-old’s gun and gave it to officers. It’s now being analyzed at the crime lab, police said.

Officers arrested Garza nearby and allegedly seized a handgun from his pocket, court documents say. Garza allegedly told police, “I had to. It was self-defense.” Officers allegedly found an empty gun case in Garza’s vehicle and 14 shell casings in the apartment complex parking lot.

The boys were taken to Regions Hospital. The 15-year-old had a gunshot wound to his right armpit and now has numbness in the area. The 12-year-old suffered a collapsed lung after being shot in his chest.

The 21-year-old victim was taken to Woodwinds Hospital with gunshot wounds to his face, arms, legs and chest, according to a witness who drove him to the hospital. He was later transported to Regions.

As of press time, all three are still hospitalized.

Regions was on lockdown for 17 minutes amid tension in the hospital’s parking lot between family members of the involved parties the night of the shooting.

Cmdr. Dave Kvam with the Maplewood Police Department said warrants have been secured for some of the involved parties’ cell phones. He said the department hopes to “see if there is anything pertinent in the messages that would help spell out what took place.”

Kvam added there is lots of work to do in the investigation, which could last weeks or months. Garza’s first appearance in court was Aug. 9. His next appearance in Ramsey County District Court is scheduled for Aug. 26.

 

—Amy Felegy

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