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Man facing a long prison sentence for shooting at 5 Somali men in Dinkytown

Anthony Sawina claimed he acted in self-defense.
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The man who shot at five Somali men in Dinkytown, injuring two of them, has been found guilty of attempted murder and faces a lengthy prison sentence.

Anthony John Sawina, 26, of Lauderdale, had left a bar with some friends in the early hours of June 29 last year when they encountered a group of five Somali men who had just finished a game of basketball, the Hennepin County Attorney's Office said.

What followed was a racist exchange in which one of the men from Sawina's group asked the Somalis, who were observing Ramadan, "what's that dress you're wearing?"

Later, as the Somali men tried to leave the area in their car, a member of Sawina's group said "F**k Muslims" prompting another argument between the two groups.

As the Somali men complained, Sawina and another man approached their car and said: "What if someone did say that?" with Sawina pulling out a gun that he pointed at the car.

Several of the Somali men heard Sawina say "I'm going to kill you all" just before two of the Somali men leapt out of the car.

Sawina shot three bullets, two of which hit men in the back seat in the legs and another went through the windshield.

The trial lasted six days, with the jury deliberating for two before rejecting Sawina's claims that he acted in self-defense.

The shooting prompted local faith leaders to call it a hate crime, but the Star Tribune reports Sawina was not charged with a hate crime as it wouldn't make any difference to his sentence. It was classified as a "bias-motivated incident" by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

"This certainly has all sorts of elements of a hate crime," Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman told the newspaper, nonetheless.

He was found guilty of all nine counts, including two of attempted first-degree murder and two counts of attempted second-degree murder.

Sentencing is scheduled for June 12, with FOX 9 reporting prosecutors intend to ask for more than 20 years in prison.

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