11-year-old girl hit by ‘stray bullet’ fired by four-time felon

KSTP-TV has observed an early-winter epidemic of stray bullets plaguing the state’s two largest cities. KSTP reports,

Police in the Twin Cities are looking into multiple recent incidents that left innocent people injured from stray bullets.

KSTP documents three “stray bullet” shootings in Minneapolis, and one in St. Paul over the past few weeks. Fortunately, none were fatal.

I wrote about one of the cases yesterday, the first instance of a gunshot wound recorded in Minneapolis in the new year.

James William Turner, Jr., has been initially charged with two felony counts of discharging his AR-15 rifle on New Year’s Day in a city street and striking an 11-year-old girl in her nearby home. He is currently in custody in the Hennepin County jail.

Turner is a 44-year-old billed out of Fridley. He is still in custody despite having his bail reduced from $150,000 to $100,000 in the current case by Judge Paul Scoggin.

Strictly speaking, Turner shouldn’t have a gun, owing to his felony conviction back in July in an unrelated case. A search of Turner’s name in the state’s judicial database reveals felony convictions in four different cases dating back to 2007. Three other felony charges have been dismissed as part of his various plea bargains over the years.

Strictly speaking, Turner shouldn’t have been on that North Minneapolis street on New Year’s Day. The most recent of his four felony convictions (for assault) was the subject of a downward sentencing departure, resulting in probation, a stayed sentence, and a dismissed firearm felony charge. The departure report indicated that Turner would be a good candidate for probation, owing to his frequent and lengthy past stints under that status.

Anoka Judge Dyanna Street approved the light sentence in July 2023, which would have otherwise resulted in a prison term of just under four years. His $488 fine in that case remains unpaid.

The latest Minneapolis charges represent a violation of his 2023 probation terms, so Anoka County has placed a hold on his release from Hennepin County custody, should he follow through with bail.

He was released early (COVID) from probation in his August 2019 felony conviction (stayed sentence) in July 2022, despite admitting to a probation violation. $136 in fines remain unpaid from that case. Turner’s drug-related 2014 felony conviction resulted in a stayed sentence. A $78 fine in that case remains unpaid. His felony conviction in that 2007 forged check case (another stayed sentence) featured at least three probation violations.

Those are just the felony cases. Ignoring his many traffic citations, Turner has accumulated three gross misdemeanor, two misdemeanor, and one petty misdemeanor convictions over the years. Firearms, drugs, and domestic assault are among the recurring themes.

Turner’s next court appearance scheduled for January 29.