Man who trapped teen, shot him dead is facing 39 years in prison

The shooting happened at the Little Earth housing complex in Minneapolis.
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A 19-year-old man is facing a sentence of 39 years in prison after pleading guilty to a fatal shooting at the Little Earth of United Tribes housing complex in south Minneapolis.

Juan Vasquez Jr. is one of two men charged in the killing of Alexander Lagarde, a 19-year-old man from Chanhassen who was visiting the complex when he was shot on March 25, 2018.

Vasquez was facing a trial on a charge of first-degree murder after being indicted by a grand jury, potentially leading to life in prison without parole, but the indictment was dropped after he agreed to the second-degree charge last week.

The Hennepin County Attorney's Office says Vasquez "trapped" Lagarde as he tried to escape into a nearby property.

Lagarde was among a group of young people standing on the sidewalk near 2400 Ogema Place in the early hours of Mar. 25, when they were approached by Vasquez and Dakota LaFave.

Lagarde went to a nearby home and tried to enter, with Vasquez following as he tried to speak to him.

The Hennepin County Attorney's Office said: "As Lagarde was trying to get into the house, Vasquez walked up the steps, peered into Lagarde’s face, pulled out a gun and fired multiple shots, killing him and injuring a nearby teenager."

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The teenager injured in the shooting was a 14-year-old boy who standing next to Lagarde as he was shot, and was hit by shrapnel.

Vasquez provided no reason for the shooting as he gave his guilty plea, but did agree that the judge could give him a higher sentence than stated in Minnesota guidelines, because he put the public at risk and treated Lagarde with "unusual cruelty."

LaFace, 29, of Fond du Lac, is set for trial on April 14, having been indicted for first-degree murder and another charge of attempted murder in aid of racketeering in a case from 2017.

The killing was part of a wave of gun violence last spring at Little Earth, which is subsidized housing complex run by the Little Earth of United Tribes, and is the heart of Minneapolis' American Indian population.

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