After a man was sentenced Monday for his role in a St. Paul murder, a dispute began in the main downtown courthouse lobby and gunshots were fired several blocks away, according to the Ramsey County sheriff’s office and police.
No injuries were reported and the case is under investigation. Deputies locked down the St. Paul City Hall-Ramsey County Courthouse for about 15 minutes.
“Emotions run high in trials and when people act on them, it’s scary and dangerous for all involved,” said Undersheriff Tina McNamara, who oversees courts and security services.
They bring in extra deputies for high-profile cases and work closely with the St. Paul police gang unit, McNamara said. At all times, people go through a security checkpoint at the courthouse.
A judge sentenced Marcus Anthony Baker, 34, on Monday to more than 40 years in prison in the November shooting of Shawn D. Jones, 28, in the Summit-University neighborhood.
After Monday’s sentencing, “we believe the suspect’s family had a dispute” in the lobby of the courthouse, according to McNamara.
It began with a verbal argument and began to get physical, but deputies split up the groups and escorted people outside, McNamara said. Soon after, deputies heard shots fired several blocks away, which McNamara said they regard as being related to the courthouse dispute.
Police responded about 3:05 p.m. to the area of Sixth and Wabasha streets on reports of shots fired, said Steve Linders, a St. Paul police spokesman.
Witnesses said they saw a vehicle pull over on Wabasha Street and someone in the car fired several rounds across a parking lot. Officers found shell casings in the area, according to Linders.
No one was arrested in connection with the shooting as of Monday.
BROTHER ALSO CHARGED IN CONNECTION TO MURDER
Before Jones was killed last fall, a group of about 20 people met to make a rap video that included lyrics that “could be construed as ‘taunting’ rival gangs,” according to the criminal complaint.
Prosecutors also charged Baker’s brother, 28-year-old Brandon Maurice Baker, with aiding an offender after the fact. His case is ongoing.
The two brothers are associated with a gang that is a rival of the gang that created the rap video, according to the complaint.
Marcus Baker, of St. Paul, was found guilty of Jones’ murder and attempted murder of a 34-year-old man who was injured in the shooting.
Katrina Pross contributed to this report.