Man gets 7 years for shooting boy, 13, in head at Minneapolis' Little Earth complex

He'll spend 7 years in prison for the serious assault.
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A man will spend 7 years in prison after pleading guilty to shooting a 13-year-old boy in the back of a head near Minneapolis' Little Earth neighborhood in October.

Andrew Townsend, 22, was sentenced to serve 84 months on Monday, after admitting last month he was the shooter in the Oct. 9 incident that left Shahntario Cortez Aquash-Rodriguez requiring 86 staples in his head.

The victim's mother spoke before the court on Thursday, with the Hennepin County Attorney's office sharing some of her comments after Townsend was sentenced.

"My life was changed forever when my son received a gunshot wound to the head," she said. "His doctors didn’t know if he would make it. A portion of his skull was removed and they had to use 86 staples to put his head back together."

"Our family has suffered trauma, anxiety and stress," she added. "And I haven’t been able to work for eight months because I need to take care of him.” 

The shooting happened in Ogema Place in south Minneapolis, near the Little Earth housing complex that has been the scene of multiple acts of violence in recent months, including a shooting in May that left six people injured.

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A 19-year-old man was shot dead at the complex in March, prompting the Little Earth Residents Association President Jolene Jones to call for an end to "the violence and the guns."

In the Oct. 9 incident, police found the boy lying on the ground in a backyard with a gunshot wound to the head.

Surveillance footage showed Townsend and two other men fighting, with Townsend holding a gun.

They then walked toward a townhouse, and a short time later the victim can be seen falling to the ground and the three men running from the area.

The Little Earth neighborhood, a subsidized housing complex in south Minneapolis, run by the Little Earth of United Tribes, is the heart of Minneapolis' American Indian population, though its almost 1,000 residents come from a diverse range of backgrounds.

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