Prosecutors filed charges Monday against several people in connection with recent attacks in downtown St. Paul in the past two months, and in downtown Minneapolis on St. Patrick's Day last week.
Hennepin County officials have charged Elijah Morgan-Hamilton, 21, from New Hope, with felony rioting with a dangerous weapon for allegedly having an 8-inch knife in his possession during the disturbance in downtown Minneapolis on the evening of St. Patrick's Day.
According to a news release from the county attorney's office, police witnessed Morgan-Hamilton running away with a knife in his hand as officers broke up a fight on Nicollet Mall. When he saw police, Morgan-Hamilton dropped the knife, FOX 9 reports.
Morgan-Hamilton told police the knife was given to him by a friend and he had it for self-defense, according to the criminal complaint.
Another man with him as arrested on suspicion of cocaine possession, but his case has been deferred until tests on the substance are complete.
Two minors – a 16-year-old girl and a 15-year-old boy, were arrested as well. Their cases are being handled in juvenile court and no further information will be released.
St. Paul attacks
Seven men have been charged in connection with assaults in a St. Paul skyway and a downtown light rail platform in January.
The suspects are all members of the Gutter Block Goon gang, which police describe as a “notorious and active gang in the city of St. Paul," according to KSTP.
The skyway assault happened the evening of Jan. 19 in the Town Square skyway area at 444 Cedar St.
According to the criminal complaint, three men were in the skyway together when they were approached by seven other men, all wearing red and black, according to KSTP.
The suspects attacked two of the men, knocking them to the ground, kicking and stomping on them, the complaint said. The suspects then fled.
A few moments later, police were called to a nearby light-rail station at Fifth and Cedar streets on a report of a large fight, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports.
Police say the same men from the skyway attack assaulted another man on the platform, and attacked a 23-year-old man who tried to intervene. The suspects then got onto the train and left the scene.
Each man has been charged with two counts of a crime committed for the benefit of a gang. If convicted, they each face up to three years in prison and up to $15,000 in fines on each charge.
The seven are identified as: Michael James Jackson, 28; Jesse Jamoni Moore, 22; Rodney Lloyd Johnson, 21; Devon Walter Lee Johnson, 20; Keanu Antwain Brown, 19; Donald Maurice McCormick, 19; and Ramon Devon Tobert, 19.
The Pioneer Press reports some of the same suspects were also charged with another fight that occurred in downtown St. Paul on March 18. Police say it was a dispute between two rival gangs.