Drive-by could have been triggered by domestic dispute in Como area

Sarah McKenzie

Matthew Haugh, a College of Liberal Arts sophomore studying linguistics, dodged a couple of bullets from a drive-by shooting outside his Como neighborhood home during spring break.
Along with two friends, Haugh tried to help a neighbor after he heard gunfire shortly before midnight on March 24.
Haugh walked outside after hearing the initial gunshots and saw a small fire blazing at the house across the street. He and his friends found a can of charcoal lighter fluid near the porch and bullet holes shot through windows in the house, he said.
While they tried to sort out the details of what appeared to be an arson at the neighbor’s home and while Haugh extinguished the fire, suspects in the initial shooting returned and allegedly shot at the men twice.
“Almost on cue someone drove by and shot at us,” Haugh said. “We hit the ground.”
Both bullets missed the men.
After the car drove away, Haugh and his companions followed the suspects in their own car along East Hennepin Avenue to a bar parking lot. They pulled into the lot to identify the license plate number of the car.
Minneapolis Police Sgt. TonyMiranda said police later stopped the car and questioned the suspects. No weapon was found, he said.
Miranda said he has a couple of suspects in the case and said it appears a domestic dispute triggered the incident. He said one of the suspects may have previously lived at the residence.
Fortunately, Miranda said, Haugh and his friends intervened and put out the fire, because the house could have been engulfed in flames. Six bullets penetrated the house, he said.
“It could have potentially been much worse,” he said.
Minneapolis Police are still investigating the incident and have classified the case as an arson and assault with a dangerous weapon.

In other police news:
ù A unidentified thief walked into a Stadium Village liquor store March 19, stole more than $1,000 and bought a bottle of Mickey’s beer with the cash, the store’s owner said.
The owner of U Liquors, who asked not to be identified, said that only one employee was working at the store at the time of the theft. The clerk had left a key in the door of an office located at the back of the store, he said.
The suspect was caught on videotape and police are circulating pictures in hopes of identifying the man, said Minneapolis Police Officer Robert Patrick, Sr.
The thief was wearing a San Francisco 49ers jacket at the time of the theft, Patrick said. The owner said the suspect appeared to be in his mid-30s.
The owner said the thief walked into the unlocked office and stole cash from the previous night’s sales. The suspect also purchased the beer before the clerk realized he had stolen money from the store, he said.
No arrests have been made and Minneapolis Police are still conducting an investigation.

ù University Police arrested a 56-year-old man March 22 for violating a court order banning him from portions of the campus, according to police reports.
Police arrested habitual trespasser Edgar Coleman along Washington Avenue Southeast for the outstanding warrant and booked him at Hennepin County Jail, according to police reports.
Coleman was not in police custody Tuesday. He has received more than 20 citations for trespassing, begging and vagrancy from the University Police in the past two years, according to Hennepin County police records.
The court order stipulates that Coleman cannot enter Smith Hall or Coffman Union, nor any tunnel or building after hours until May 13.
Coleman pled not guilty to charges of trespassing at his earlier hearing on March 1, but the judge decided to honor the University’s trespassing citation.
Nancy Laskaris, an assistant Hennepin County public defender, represented Coleman at the earlier hearing. She said she disagreed with the ruling.
Attorneys within the public defending office will likely appeal the decision in the coming months, she said. If Coleman is found guilty of the violation, he may serve up to 78 days in the county workhouse.