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Man pleads guilty to buying guns for New Hope City Hall shooter

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A Golden Valley man pleaded guilty Friday to illegally buying guns for the man who shot at police officers during a swearing in ceremony at New Hope City Hall in January.

The Minnesota State's Attorney Office confirmed that Michael R. Garant, 42, entered the plea in U.S. District Court, admitting that he had deceived the Full Metal Gun Shop in Princeton last August when he bought three firearms he said were for himself, but were actually for Raymond Kmetz.

Kmetz then used one of the guns to open fire on officers at a swearing in ceremony during a meeting of the New Hope City Council. He was killed when officers returned fire.

The attorney's office said Garant paid $659.29 in cash for three shotguns, and then gave them to Kmetz, who was prohibited from owning firearms because of mental health issues.

Garant pleaded guilty to making a false statement in the purchase of firearms.

He was the highest bidder in an online auction for the three guns in which he used Kmetz's name, but when he went to pick them up from the Full Metal Gun Shop, he told the store that he was the actual buyer, and they were for his own use.

The Star Tribune reports he is expected to be sentenced to between 12 and 18 months in prison. No sentencing date has been set.

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