Jury Finds Man Guilty in Shooting of 5 Somali Men

May 12, 2017 05:50 AM

A 26-year-old Lauderdale man was convicted on nine counts of attempted murder and assault in connection with the shooting of five Somali men in Dinkytown last June.

The Hennepin County Attorney's Office announced Thursday that Anthony John Sawina had been found guilty of two counts of attempted first-degree murder, two counts of attempted second-degree murder and five counts of second-degree assault in Hennepin County District Court.


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The jury deliberated for about two days before returning the verdict against Sawina, who had argued he acted in self defense.

Sentencing is scheduled for June 12. Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said in the release that prosecutors have not yet decided how long a sentence to seek, but he expects it will be over 20 years.

Five Somali men told police they were playing basketball in the area at around 2:30 a.m. on June 29, and encountered a group of people leaving a nearby bar. One person in the group said, "What's that dress you're wearing?" referring to the traditional clothing one of the victims was wearing for the month of Ramadan, according to the criminal complaint.

The victims were about to leave when one of the men said, "F*** Muslims," according to the criminal complaint. One of the victims asked the man why he would say that, and then two of the men approached the vehicle.

According to the criminal complaint, Sawina drew a handgun and began firing. Two of the victims were hit in their lower legs, police say.

One victim that was not injured drove the injured victims to Hennepin County Medical Center.

Police found and arrested Sawina on July 21 in Lauderdale. They said they also found a .380-caliber handgun during a search.


Frank Rajkowski

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