Man facing charges connected to shooting of '21 Days of Peace’ volunteer

A man is facing charges connected to the shooting of a volunteer who was part of the ’21 Days of Peace’ initiative organized last summer in Minneapolis.

Gregory Hamilton has been charged with second-degree riot armed with a dangerous weapon, as well as, possession of ammo and a firearm.

As a response to a rash of gun violence affecting community children, organizers created ’21 Days of Peace’ last May in an effort to calm tensions throughout often violent areas. Free events hosted by the group included free bibles and food.

Promoted by faith and community leaders, the initiative has been beneficial to communities overall but has not been without its own peril. 

According to charges filed Tuesday in Hennepin County District Court, on June 16, 2021, Minneapolis police were dispatched to a ShotSpotter activation near Lyndale Avenue North and Broadway Avenue West. While en route officers were advised that an identified female victim had been shot.

The victim was identified as a volunteer from Shiloh Temple who had set up a snow cone tent on the west side of the Merwin's Liquor parking lot to help curb violence in the area.

After suffering four gunshot wounds, officers were able to speak with the victim at the hospital. The victim told police it was a typical day at Merwin's, including people dealing drugs in the area, until she observed a commotion near Walgreens, then heard gunfire.

Surveillance video showed two suspects running to a dark-colored BMW and leaving the scene after shots were fired.

An employee from Walgreens told police one of the suspects entered the store and made a purchase right before shots were fired. He directed police to a bottle of water on the sidewalk and stated it was what the suspect purchased prior to the shooting. 

Police say the bottle was collected for forensic testing, and a fingerprint that was lifted matched a known print for Hamilton. They also add that further DNA lifted from the water bottle also matched the known profile of Hamilton.

In September, Minnesota Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington over 100 days during the summer, there were 36 arrests and charges relating to serious gun crimes, with 16 guns off the streets – accomplishments the group deserved partial credit for. 

In addition to north Minneapolis, 21 Days of Peace focuses on crime prevention in other "hotspots" including south Minneapolis, St. Paul and Brooklyn Park.

Hamilton was previously convicted of second-degree riot for a shooting in the same area on June 22, 2020, and was not allowed to possess a firearm. Hamilton has since been indicted on murder charges for a shooting in August at the Skyline Food Market in Minneapolis.