Man sentenced to 12 years in prison for shooting Minneapolis police officer

Judge gavel, scales of justice and law books in court. (Brian A. Jackson/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

A man who pleaded guilty to attempted second-degree murder last month learned his fate Thursday morning.

Frederick Leon Davis, 19, was sentenced to 147 months, or just over 12 years, in prison for opening fire on an undercover police officer with a Glock handgun that was modified with a switch to make it fully automatic. Davis was also given 279 days already served. 

Court documents show the shooting happened Aug. 11, 2023 around 9:15 p.m. near the 4300 block of Colafax Avenue North. 

The Minneapolis Police Department said the seven-year veteran was trying to locate a car that fled from Brooklyn Park police the day before and that it was believed to be involved in a robbery. The car was also potentially stolen and had fled from Minneapolis police just an hour before.

The undercover officer then spotted the car and began to follow it and saw what appeared to be the suspect's car parked with its lights off. It was at that moment that shots were fired. 

That officer spoke during the hearing, describing that he thought someone threw "Black Cat" firecrackers at his vehicle until he felt his arm go numb and his body bleed. It was later found that he had been shot in the back of the right shoulder. He has since recovered.

"That bullet remains with me," the officer said. "It'll be a permanent souvenir since then." 

Davis was one of four suspects arrested later that night after crashing while trying to flee police again. He would later claim he did not know that he had shot at a police officer. 

The criminal complaint notes that police recovered a "ghost gun" from the crash that forensic evidence suggests was also fired three times that night. The "ghost gun" was found in the backseat where a minor was sitting. The Glock with the auto switch is believed to have been fired 12 times.

The prosecutor noted that Davis had fled from marked police personnel earlier that night. 

"You can look at this from many perspectives," the prosecutor said. "It’s almost better if he does think it’s a police officer because then at least he knows who he’s shooting at. Otherwise, it’s an unmarked, regular vehicle that follows him, and he assumes that someone following him needs to be shot at." 

The defense requested a lower sentence by pointing to the fact that Davis was shot in the chest a year before the incident and was suffering from the effects of post-traumatic stress. 

"He has been a victim of gun violence himself," said Davis’ defense attorney. "He made poor decisions based out of a place of fear." 

Davis then spoke before he was sentenced.

"I didn’t know it was a police officer," Davis said. "I was just scared. How these people try to make me seem... I’m not a bad person at all."

Speaking through tears, Davis added, "He made a full recovery. I take full responsibility for my actions, I never said I didn’t." 

The judge noted that Davis was not given the maximum sentence due to him agreeing to a plea deal on April 15.