Man accused of shooting bystander on Minneapolis' Eat Street appears in court

A shootout between two groups of men that occurred in the middle of Minneapolis' popular Eat Street last June resulted in a woman who was a bystander getting shot in the back. Two men have been since been charged in the case and on Thursday, one of the suspects made his first court appearance. 

James Reaheem Patterson Jr, who is now 19 years old, is facing three felony charges: first-degree assault with great bodily harm, illegally possessing a firearm after a conviction of a violent crime and second-degree riot. The first charge is the most serious and carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison. The criminal complaint indicates he is charged with either firing the weapon that shot the victim or "intentionally aiding" or "conspiring" with the person who did, according to the criminal complaint. Court records indicate he has yet to enter a plea. 

The other suspect, Marion Quintel Ware, 20, of St. Paul, was arrested in August 2021. He faced the same charges as Patterson but took a plea deal on May 5 to serve 14 years in prison. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for Aug. 15. 

Prosecutors make their case

According to the criminal complaints filed by the Hennepin County Attorney's Office, the details of the case are as follows: 

On a warm Tuesday night on June 29, 2021, a woman was walking with a friend by West 26th and Nicollet Avenue, on Eat Street in Minneapolis, after the two had enjoyed a meal at a nearby restaurant. They were walking north, away from downtown, when at around 6:36 p.m., they came to the next intersection — 27th Street — and saw a group of men down the street.

As the pair crossed the street, they heard gunshots, according to court documents. The woman grabbed her friend's arm and started to run but she only made it as far as the curb when she fell, shot in the back, the documents say.

The bullet entered near her left shoulder blade, punctured her lung and went across to the right side of her neck, where it stopped. Doctors removed the bullet this January, but the victim's left hand was left partially paralyzed, according to court documents.  

Minneapolis police interviewed witnesses and reviewed surveillance footage from nearby businesses and homes to determine the victim had been an innocent bystander in an exchange of gunfire between two groups. Security footage showed someone in a blue Honda Accord firing at a group of men on the sidewalk by the Tobacco and Mas store. Several men on the sidewalk then pulled out handguns and fired back as they ran away eastbound, according to the criminal complaint.

Investigators recognized one of the men as Patterson, who was seen firing at the car in the video, from social media images published a week later. Detectives also took fingerprints from a soda can that security camera footage showed had been held by one of the men on the sidewalk. They got a match: Marion Quintel Ware, 20, of St. Paul, according to the complaint. 

Patterson was two and a half weeks shy of his 18th birthday when the shooting occurred, but on June 10, 2022, a judge ordered him to stand trial for the shooting as an adult. 

Days before the shooting on Eat Street, Patterson was convicted on June 10, 2021, as an adult on an aggravated robbery charge stemming from a 2020 crime.