A Minneapolis man was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for his role in a fire set at Target’s corporate headquarters in Minneapolis in 2020. A riot started after crowds falsely believed that a man had been shot dead by police.
Leroy Lemonte Perry Williams pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit arson for his role in the fire at Target.
The riot began in August 2020 — following George Floyd‘s death that sparked the infamous Summer of Love — after a false rumor that a man had been shot and killed by Minneapolis Police in the city’s downtown center.
“Minneapolis experienced arson, rioting, and looting following the suicide of a suspect in a homicide, and in response to false rumors surrounding the man’s death,” the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota described.
At the same time, Twitter accounts and police tried to spread the correct information online, Alpha News reported. Minneapolis Police even released information that the man who shot himself was a homicide suspect being tracked by police.
At the Target, another man named Shador Tommie Cortez Jackson used a construction sign to break through a glass door to get in, federal authorities explained. Williams, Jackson, and Victor Devon Edwards reportedly breached the doors of the building before Jackson intentionally set a fire on a counter in the mail room.
Law enforcement stated that Jackson attempted to set another fire using carboard boxes and a lighter, but the group soon left. However, Williams re-entered the building and attempted to light yet another fire at the entrance before fleeing the scene.
Surveillance images pinpointed Williams in downtown Minneapolis the same night, first at a Target store and then allegedly looting a Speedway gas station a few blocks away. He then reportedly moved to the Target headquarters to attempt the arson.
Williams was convicted on one count of arson, and his 10-year sentence will be followed by three years of supervised released. He was also reportedly offered a plea deal for his charge in January 2021 but later withdrew his plea. He was found guilty by a jury in October 2021.
Alpha News also reported that Williams had previously been convicted for burglary and theft but had four charges stayed or reduced by Hennepin County courts.
The aforementioned Edwards and Jackson were also sentenced to lengthy prison sentences. For their roles in the arson, Edwards received 100 months in federal prison while Jackson received 33 months.
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