Arson, attempted murder among charges in Minneapolis unrest

Police stand guard against protesters.
Police stand guard against protesters outside the Minnesota Police Department 3rd precinct in Minneapolis on May 27, 2020.
Christine T. Nguyen | MPR News file

One Minnesota man has been charged with attempted murder for allegedly shooting at police officers during unrest in Minneapolis last week, while two others face federal charges for allegedly throwing Molotov cocktails into a suburban government building, according to charges made public Tuesday.

The charges are the latest to stem from unrest following the death of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who died May 25 after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for several minutes, ignoring Floyd's cries that he couldn't breathe.

Jaleel Stallings, 27, of St. Paul, was charged in Hennepin County with two counts of second-degree attempted murder, multiple counts of assault and other charges for allegedly firing multiple shots at SWAT officers during unrest Saturday in Minneapolis.

According to the criminal complaint, SWAT officers were patrolling in an unmarked white van, with two marked squad cars behind them, when Stallings stepped out from behind a white pickup truck and walked toward the officers. The complaint said Stallings crouched down and officers thought he was going to throw something at them so they fired a marking round.

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In return, Stallings fired three to four shots toward the officers, narrowly missing them, then ran away, the complaint said. Officers found him and handcuffed him after a struggle. They found an AK-47 style pistol near the right bumper of the truck, the complaint said. No officers were injured.

Stallings is scheduled for a first court appearance Wednesday and it's not immediately clear if he has an attorney to comment on his behalf.

In federal court, Garrett Ziegler, 24, of Long Lake, and Fornandous Henderson, 32, of Savage, were charged with arson and possession of Molotov cocktails, after authorities say they threw the devices into a courthouse in Dakota County, south of the Twin Cities, on Friday.

According to an affidavit from an agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, police in Apple Valley responded to reports of fire early Friday and found broken windows, smoke and flames. Inside, they found broken glass jars and liquor bottles, intact glass jars containing ignitable liquid and a charred red bandanna.

Officers searched a car registered to Ziegler and found materials inside that are used to make Molotov cocktails. After putting out the fire, authorities found Ziegler and Henderson on a road nearby and arrested them. One detective noticed fresh soot on their hands, the complaint said.

The attorneys for Ziegler and Henderson both said they had no immediate comment, as they had just received the cases.

The charges come a day after an Illinois man was charged for allegedly traveling to Minneapolis to participate in riots. Charges accuse Matthew Lee Rupert, 28, of Galesburg, Ill., of posting self-recorded videos of himself online, showing him handing out explosive devices to others and encouraging them to throw them at law enforcement. He’s also shown damaging property and attempting to light a business on fire, according to the charges.