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2 charged in deadly Minneapolis mass shooting at Nudieland backyard music venue

Teen charged in Minneapolis mass shooting that killed local musician
Teen charged in Minneapolis mass shooting that killed local musician 02:04

MINNEAPOLIS — Criminal charges have been unsealed for an 18-year-old man and a 17-year-old boy in connection to last summer's deadly mass shooting at the Minneapolis backyard music venue dubbed Nudieland.

August Golden, 35, was killed and six others were hurt in the shooting on the evening of Aug. 11, 2023, outside the home located off 16th Avenue South and East 22nd Street in the Ventura Village neighborhood. Between 30 to 50 people were gathered for a concert at the time.

The Hennepin County Attorney's Office announced Tuesday that the 18-year-old suspect, who was 17 at the time of the shooting, was charged by sealed warrant earlier this month with seven felony counts, including aiding and abetting second-degree murder and four counts of second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon.

RELATED: Minneapolis music community mourning after mass shooting kills 1, injures 6

The man, a resident of Hinckley, was arrested on Monday, leading to the charges being unsealed. He made his first appearance in juvenile court on Tuesday afternoon.

On Wednesday, court documents were also unsealed for a 17-year-old Onamia boy charged with the same seven counts. He too is in custody and made his first court appearance on Wednesday afternoon.

Nudieland WCCO

County Attorney Mary Moriarty says her office has yet to decide whether to push for adult certifications.

WCCO-TV does not typically identify individuals unless they are charged as adults with crimes.

A spokesperson for Moriarty's office says the charge of aiding and abetting second-degree murder is essentially the same as second-degree murder since both carry the same penalty and blame of death. However, the two charges require different types of proof for conviction.

Details from the juvenile petitions

The two suspects were attending the concert, and witnesses say they made "insensitive comments" and "derogatory epithets about the sexual orientation of concert attendees," according to the juvenile petitions.

Witnesses called the suspects out for carrying handguns, and one of the suspects replied, "We're not going to use the gun or anything, but if need be we will," according to one of the petitions.

The suspects eventually left, and less than a minute later gunfire erupted from the yard next door. Police say nine shell casings were recovered at the scene. Eight casings were 9mm caliber and one was .380 caliber.

Several witnesses, including Aaron Dively, told WCCO days after the shooting that a queerphobic interaction involving the suspects occurred before the shooting.

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"Two young men came in, started hitting on people that were not open to being hit on. And after being reprimanded and told to like step down, they grew increasingly violent, and did what they did," Dively said.

Felix Jardine told WCCO they were standing next to Golden when he was fatally shot in the back.

August Golden Mia James

"I ran and hid behind the garage, and then the shots stopped. And there was a lot more screaming. And they were with August, and August was bleeding out really fast. There are people on the ground, just complete chaos, it was a total nightmare," Jardine said. "(Golden) was just one of those people that was always there. Any show, any kind of event, he was there, and I loved his presence so much."

Of the six other victims, a man and a woman were both shot in their thighs; a second man was shot in the shin; a third man was shot in the leg; a fourth man's cheek was grazed by a bullet; and a fifth man was shot in the torso. That victim lost a kidney and suffered damage to his appendix, intestine and liver.

One of the petitions states the suspect from Onamia was identified by DNA on a cigarette butt left at the scene. The suspect from Hinckley was identified by a witness via surveillance camera footage.

Moriarty addresses hate language, defends charging decision

Moriarty, the first openly LGBTQIA+ Hennepin County attorney, emphasized the queerphobic nature of the comments made before the carnage during a press conference Tuesday.

"This shooting, at what should have been a joyous event, rocked our LGBTQIA+ community, and increased fear among a community that is too often already under attack," Moriarty said. "We are committed to holding those who caused this harm accountable, and to offering, as we already have, our office's resources to those who have been impacted by this senseless violence."      

While charging documents acknowledge the suspects used slurs before the attack, Moriarty says proving it in court would have been too high of a bar.

"We know that there were biased comments made. That's clear," she said. "What we don't believe at this moment is that we have enough information to know whether the crime itself was motivated by those hateful comments."

She was also questioned over why she charged the now-18-year-old suspect as a juvenile. It's a criticism she's faced in the past, and one that led Gov. Tim Walz to make the rare move of rerouting a murder case involving juveniles from her office to the attorney general's.

"I absolutely know we will hold this young man and the other young man accountable. But our process is to look at each and every individual as an individual and wait until we get the certification study, the psychological reports and talk to the people who've been harmed by this tragedy," she said.

Partner of man killed in Nudieland shooting reacts to charges 02:17

Golden's partner reacts to charges

Caitlin Angelica, Golden's partner, says she'll deal with the grief of losing him for the rest of her life. But in the months since the shooting, Angelica has also found positivity.

"I have a community that is incredibly vast and incredibly strong and has taken care of me,"  Angelica said. "We've all taken care of each other through this tragedy."

For Angelica, Tuesday's arrest doesn't bring feelings of comfort.

"It makes me sad because this whole situation makes me really, really sad," she said. "Justice doesn't equate to closure...Those people being put into prison and being charged actually just further perpetuates this kind of death and violence because in my mind it's a systemic issue, like any mass shooting."

Angelica says Golden was an incredible friend who showed up for people, not to get anything in return, but because it was how he lived his life.

She says she tries to live her life now carrying his values.

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