A man selling a "ghost gun" shot the prospective buyer, an Avon teenager, in the chest with the weapon before driving off with the victim's money.
That's according to charges filed in Stearns County District Court Thursday against Grant A. Monaghan, pictured above. The 20-year-old St. Cloud man is not accused of pulling the trigger, but prosecutors allege he helped set up the transaction and was in the car Tuesday morning when the shooting occurred.
The victim, who has not been identified, stumbled to a neighbor's house immediately after being shot and called 911. The bullet, fired from a .40 caliber weapon, went through his chest and out his back, resulting in "significant" injuries the charges say. He was taken to North Memorial Hospital and underwent surgery, where the complaint says he remained "heavily sedated and intubated." The Stearns County Sheriff's Office said Thursday he was in stable condition.
Monaghan is charged with aiding and abetting second-degree assault, as well as aiding and abetting aggravated robbery with a firearm. He turned himself into police, the charges say, and explained how the shooting stemmed from the sale of a "ghost gun" — a firearm that is assembled from separate parts purchased online, and therefore not traceable, the complaint says.
Here's what happened, according to Monaghan's account in the criminal complaint:
A week or two before the shooting, Monaghan learned an acquaintance known as "Smurf" was trying to sell a "ghost gun." Monaghan agreed to help find a buyer in exchange for $100 from the sale. So he took a photo, posted it on Snapchat and connected with the victim.
Monaghan met Smurf in St. Cloud so they could drive to Avon for the meeting.When Smurf got in the car (a Malibu with Texas license plates), he racked the .40-caliber gun to load a round into the chamber, which Monaghan considered "out of the ordinary."
In Avon, the victim got in the back seat of the Malibu, on the passenger side behind Smurf while Monaghan remained in the driver's seat.
The victim handed Smurf $800 in cash for the firearm — at which point Smurf used it to shoot the victim in the chest. The victim ran out of the car, and Smurf yelled at Monaghan to drive.
They went back to St. Cloud and cleaned out the Malibu (with Smurf looking for the single casing), then hid the vehicle at an acquaintance's home. They also broke the phone used to communicate with the victim.
Investigators found surveillance video from the area where the shooting happened, with footage lining up with Monaghan's account. They also found a bullet path through the shoulder area of the front passenger seat of the car, consistent with firing toward the back seat.
They also uncovered cellphone and social media evidence showing the victim talking to Monaghan about the gun for sale and how he needed to get cash.
The whereabouts of "Smurf" are unknown, the Stearns County Sheriff's Office said Thursday. He is identified in the complaint filed against Monaghan, though has not been arrested and he does not appear to have been criminally charged at this point. Anyone with information is asked to call the Avon Police Department at 320-356-7575 or the sheriff’s office at 320-251-4240.
Monaghan made his first court appearance Thursday. He is due back in court March 14.