Crime, Law and Justice

Charges filed in Minneapolis shooting that left off-duty firefighter dead

Charges have been filed against a man in connection with gunfire that left an off-duty Twin Cities firefighter dead amid a large gathering at a Minneapolis bar earlier this month.

Marquise Trevone Hammonds-Ford, 28, of Monticello faces three counts including first-degree armed riot resulting in a death.

He’s also charged with owning, possessing or operating a machine gun or machine gun conversion kit, and illegally possessing a firearm after a previous criminal conviction.

He appeared in court Tuesday, where bail was set at $800,000 with conditions or $1 million without. He’s due back in court on June 10.

Hammonds-Ford is not charged with firing the shot that killed Joseph Johns, 40, on May 5. But the complaint accuses Hammonds-Ford of instigating the shootout that resulted in Johns’ death. And the complaint states that the investigation into other suspects linked to the gunfire is ongoing.

Johns had been a volunteer with the Eden Prairie Fire Department since 2015. In 2020, he joined the Eagan Fire Department as a career firefighter. Court documents state that he was caught in the crossfire during the shooting.

According to the complaint against Hammonds-Ford:

Police officers responded to “a shooting involving multiple shooters and substantial gunfire” outside the Whiskey Junction bar in Minneapolis at about 12:30 a.m. on May 5.

They found bystanders performing CPR on Johns, who later died from his injuries. Investigators found 63 spent casings from seven different firearms.

Witnesses told police that hundreds of people had gathered peacefully at the bar to celebrate the anniversary of the founding of a motorcycle club, when two groups of people standing on opposite sides of the street outside exchanged gunfire.

portrait of a firefighter
Eagan Firefighter Joseph C. Johns tragically passed away while off duty on May 5.
City of Eagan

Surveillance video allegedly shows one group initiating the altercation and subsequent gunfire. And the complaint states that one man in that group — identified by authorities as Hammonds-Ford — made “provocative and threatening gestures, pointed his firearm at an upward angle... and let off a rapid succession of gunshots,” leading additional people to start shooting.

Johns, the complaint states, “was standing outside the bar directing traffic when the gunfire erupted, catching him in the crossfire.” It’s not clear where the fatal gunshot came from.

At least one other person was injured in the shooting.

The complaint states that there’s evidence Hammonds-Ford had a gun with an auto sear that converts a semi-automatic handgun to an automatic one. And it says he was barred from possessing firearms after a previous conviction for threats of violence.

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