Gang member receives six years for shooting

A Hennepin County judge on Thursday sentenced a Brooklyn Park man to six years in prison for firing shots that struck a pregnant woman last year.

Last April, 23-year-old Kibbie Shakeel Walker fired multiple shots at a car outside the Hennepin County Medical Center. Walker pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree assault.

Prosecutors say Walker, a member of a street gang called the Taliban, admitted to firing the shots, and said he did so because a member of a rival gang was in the car with the woman.

Walker's defense attorney, Catherine Turner, said Walker was carrying a gun for protection after he had been shot two weeks earlier by rival gang members.

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"If there hadn't been legitimate threats to his life, he probably wouldn't have been so scared for his life," Turner said.

One of the men who shot Walker last year will be sentenced for that shooting later this month.

Walker and Cortez Davon Blakemore were wounded as they left work at Target Field on April 12, 2014. Blakemore, who suffered a spinal injury in the shooting, was among seven alleged gang members a federal grand jury indicted Wednesday on drug distribution charges.

Walker has been the subject of death threats on social media following the shooting death of Tyrone "Crack" Washington in the Epic nightclub in November of 2013. Police say Washington was a ranking member of the 1-9 Dipset, a rival of the Taliban gang. According to court documents, Walker admitted to being in the downtown Minneapolis nightclub when Washington was shot, but denied taking part in Washington's death.

But apparently, some think otherwise. "The belief that Defendant killed Mr. Washington became widespread," reads a memorandum filed in Walker's case.

At Walker's sentencing hearing, Turner quoted a post on the "Adventures of Johnny Northside" blog in which an anonymous person said Walker will be dead soon if he doesn't get locked up. However, Turner said Walker also faces threats behind bars, and that's why he was kept in Dakota County Jail instead of Hennepin County Jail where he would be around more members of rival gangs.

Turner said she's confident the state Department of Corrections will also take measures to keep Walker safe.

Assistant Hennepin County Attorney Joshua Larson said Walker "lived his life on the edge of the blade," and has reveled in it. He said Walker played up his role as a "trigger man for the Taliban" on social media.

Walker spoke briefly at the hearing and asked Judge Elizabeth Cutter for mercy before she sentenced him to prison.

Turner said Walker, who has been shot six times in his life, was recently diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and is taking medication.

Cutter said she hopes Walker will be able to get the help he needs while in prison.