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Weapons charge filed against suspect in National Guard shooting

Authorities say 28-year-old suspect Andrew Thomas is a felon, and is prohibited from possessing a firearm.

MINNEAPOLIS — Federal authorities have charged a 28-year-old man with illegal possession of a firearm after investigators say he fired on a team of National Guard personnel patrolling the city of Minneapolis as part of Operation Safety Net.

The complaint against Andrew Thomas details the incident, which occurred during the early morning hours of April 18 at the corner of Penn Avenue and West Broadway Avenue North. Prosecutors say four guardsmen were stationed at the intersection with a Minneapolis police officer shortly before 4:30 a.m. when a distinctive tan SUV drove past and fired multiple shots at the team. Two of the National Guard soldiers suffered minor injuries.

RELATED: Shots fired at National Guard members early Sunday morning, officials say

Investigators reviewed surveillance footage of the incident and noted several identifying features of the suspect vehicle, including unique rims and a black bike rack on the roof. Later that evening Minneapolis police were patrolling near 6th Street S. and Cedar Ave. when they spotted a 2002 Ford Explorer that matched the description of the shooter's vehicle.

Prosecutors say the driver of the SUV, Thomas, and a juvenile were placed in separate squad cars for interrogation. The juvenile told police that Thomas had a gun in the truck. Officers obtained a search warrant for the Explorer and recovered a 9mm semi-automatic pistol, a .22 caliber pistol and some spent shell casings. 

Ballistics tests were performed on the 9mm pistol, and the results matched shell casings involved in the National Guard shooting.

Thomas was previously convicted of assault in Hennepin County in December of 2017, making him ineligible to own or possess a firearm. 

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