Crime, Law and Justice

Charges announced 8 months after Nudieland mass shooting, pain still fresh for survivors

A woman speaks at a mic during a press conference
Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty announces charges against Dominic James Burris, 18, in relation to the Nudieland mass shooting that took place last August during a press conference in Minneapolis on Tuesday.
Ben Hovland | MPR News

Updated: 3:50 p.m.

The news of charges in the mass shooting that took place on Aug. 11 at Nudieland punk music venue brought up complicated feelings for Bryan May. 

May’s best friend, 35-year-old musician August Golden, was one of seven shooting victims at the popular music venue inside of an inconspicuous south Minneapolis house, and the one who lost his life. 

“I guess there’s some relief just having someone off the streets who might do terrible things to the community, but, you know, it doesn’t bring August back,” May said. 

Golden was in a crowd of around 50 people enjoying a night of fun and music before their lives were forever changed by a mass shooting.  

August Golden for The Current
August Golden was killed at a mass shooting in south Minneapolis in August.
Courtesy of Bryan May

Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty spoke Tuesday afternoon about the deep impact on an entire community after the senseless act. 

“Violence like this strikes fear into the hearts of all of us,” Moriarty said. “It makes us fearful to live our lives. And it has deeply impacted our LGBTQ+ community.”

Attendees at the time reported many at the show were part of the LGBTQ+ community and they were concerned they were targeted because of their identity

Dominic James Burris, 18, of Hinckley, is facing one charge of aiding and abetting second-degree murder related to Golden’s death, and six counts of first- and second-degree assault related to the surviving shooting victims. Burris has pleaded not guilty. One of the six survivors had to have a kidney removed from injuries. 

The second suspect is in juvenile detention and was in court Wednesday afternoon. The 17-year-old from Onamia faces one felony charge of aiding and abetting murder, two felony charges of aiding and abetting assault, and four felony assault charges.

MPR News does not name juvenile defendants unless they are charged in adult court.

Burris recently turned 18, and prosecutors asked the court for a study to determine if Burris should be charged as an adult. Moriarty said her office will not make an immediate decision before that process is complete. 

Court documents show witnesses from the crowd of concertgoers identified the suspects and told police that the teens had attended the concert at Nudieland and talked with people there. They were not known to the community, according to several witnesses. One witness told police the suspects hit on her and began making “insensitive” comments when she rejected them. 

Other witnesses said the suspects made insensitive comments after learning attendees were lesbians. The shooting began less than a minute after the two suspects left, witnesses told police.  

the entrance to a house is visible
Attendees of the punk show at Nudieland at the time reported many at the show were part of the LGBTQ+ community and they were concerned they were targeted because of their identity.
Kerem Yücel | MPR News

Moriarty said prosecutors have not charged this crime as being motivated by bias, which is a sentencing enhancement and commonly what people mean when they refer to “hate crime laws.” Prosecutors can add these sentencing enhancements to increase both the minimum and maximum sentences for crimes proven to be motivated by bias against certain identities.  

“The way the law works is that if we actually charge a crime motivated by bias, we then have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the reason, what motivated this shooting, was bias,” Moriarty said. “We know that there were biased comments made. That’s clear. What we don’t believe at this moment is that we have enough information to know whether the crime itself was motivated by those hateful comments.”

Rep. Leigh Finke, DFL-St. Paul, is the first openly transgender legislator in Minnesota. Finke said she has fielded calls and concerns about the shooting since it happened. 

“From what I understand, and from the reporting, it felt like quite a targeted piece of violence against the queer community and the Nudieland community,” Finke said. “Given that there is no positive outcome after someone has been murdered, I’m grateful that there has been a pursuit for justice.”

Two people pose for a photo on a polaroid
August Golden and his partner, Caitlin Angelica, pose for a photo. Golden died in a mass shooting in August 2023.
Courtesy of Caitlin Angelica

After eight months of waiting for answers, what remains clear to August Golden’s best friend Bryan May, is that the painful loss continues to feel new.

“I don’t think there’s any way to like, feel like a win here,” May said. “You know, no matter what happens with the case, we’ve already lost.”

The next hearing in the case is scheduled for May 1.

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