Final guilty plea concludes bloody 2014 gang war


A wild week of chases and fights that ended with more than 20 shots fired at the Hennepin County Medical Center two years ago ended this week with the guilty plea of Percy Lacey.

The carnage and terror caused by a feud between two street gangs resulted in convictions for many of the participants and permanent paralysis for another. Lacey will be sentenced Monday and is expected to receive 225 months in prison.

“Great work by the Minneapolis Police Department resulted in solid cases against many of these gang members and both we and the U.S. Attorney’s Office were able to bring charges and obtain convictions,” Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said. “Justice was done. Sadly, more are stepping up to take their place, so our work is not finished.”
In the late summer of 2014, tensions rose between two south Minneapolis gangs, the Bloods and the 10s (pronounced Tens).

In his court hearing Tuesday before Hennepin County District Court Judge Gina Brandt, Lacey pleaded guilty to two crimes, second-degree assault and attempted murder for the benefit of a gang. In the aggravated assault, Lacey shot and wounded D.L on Aug. 19, 2014. According to the criminal complaint, D.L. was walking west on 37th St. near Chicago Avenue with two other men when a Chevy Tahoe slowed down and fired multiple shots at the group. One of Lacey’s bullets struck D.L. in his leg. A rod had to be surgically inserted because the bullet shattered his bone.

That set up the events of Aug. 26. Demetric and Allen Smith were walking west on 38th Street and had just passed Oakland Avenue when they heard a guy yell, “What’s up Blood?” and saw Vysean Johnson driving by in a red SUV. Johnson reached across and fired multiple shots out of the passenger window. Allen Smith was struck in the hand and Demetric Smith was hospitalized with a lower back wound.

That afternoon, a number of Bloods came to the Hennepin County Government Center because they heard that their 10s enemy, Lacey, was in one of the courtrooms. A couple of the Bloods were in line to be screened so they could take the elevator up to the courtroom, but another Blood told them Lacey was already getting on an escalator to leave the government center. Several of the bloods ran through the skyway level of the government center and down the escalator and chased Lacey, who sprinted away outside. Lacey ran back inside and sat down on a public bench near a Hennepin County Sheriff’s deputy, forcing the Bloods to circle but never approach Lacey. The Bloods left and walked towards the Hennepin County Medical Center.

Less than a half-hour later, Lacey and other 10s learned that members of the Bloods were visiting their friend Demetric Smith at the Hennepin County Medical Center and arrived there not long after the Bloods arrived. According to the criminal complaint, Lacey’s pride was hurt over being chased around the government center and he posted on Facebook that he wanted to “dance” with the Bloods, but they ran away. As part of Lacey’s plan, Andrew “Boo Boo” Peterson stood outside the hospital in order to lure the Bloods out of the hospital.

The plan worked and the Bloods, who had no guns, began fighting with 10s including Vysean Johnson and Peterson and were winning. Johnson, as he was being punched, yelled out to Lacey, “air them out, Cuz.”  Lacey was standing on Eighth Street, just west of Chicago Avenue, and fired at least 23 shots. No one was struck, but bullets damaged a window, window and door frames, two of the medical center’s signs and sent employees running for cover. In pleading guilty to attempted murder for the benefit of the gang, Lacey admitted Tuesday that he was a member of the 10s gang and that he fired multiple shots when he saw the Blood members near the hospital door.

Last year, the U.S. Attorney’s Office obtained indictments against seven gang members, including Peterson and Lacey. In February, Lacey pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking. Recently, he was sentenced to 140 months in federal prison, which will run concurrently with the state’s expected 225-month sentence.

His co-defendant in the Hennepin County Medical Center shooting, Vysean Johnson, will be sentenced Nov. 8. He pleaded guilty last month to two counts of attempted murder, one for the shooting of Demetric Smith and one for his role in the medical center shootout. Johnson was paralyzed from the neck down when he was shot at the MotoMart on Hiawatha Avenue on Sept. 23, 2014. No one has ever been charged in that shooting.

In addition, the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office charged Rashard Jamal Ashmead, Thomas Terrell Madison, Dennis Paul Riggins, Sylvester Romell Jernagin and Unique Tenee Manning with third-degree riot for chasing Lacey in the Hennepin County Government Center. Ashmead pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct, Madison pleaded guilty to the riot charge. Jernigan’s charge was dropped in exchange for him pleading guilty to third-degree burglary. Riggins’ charge was dropped in exchange for him agreeing to accept 15 months in prison for violating his probation on a domestic assault by strangulation conviction. Manning’s case was dismissed by a judge.

Percy Lacey Aug. 19, 2014 shooting complaint (PDF)

Percy Lacey complaint HCMC (PDF)

Vysean Johnson complaint HCMC (PDF)

Vysean Johnson complaint Oakland Ave. (PDF)

Courthouse video

Press conference video