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Men Suspected in St. Paul Shootout Have Long, Violent Rap Sheets, Were Barred from Possessing Guns

Ryan Mills - National Review  | Published on 11/27/2021

At least two of the three men who were taken into custody on Sunday in connection with a deadly shootout at a Twin Cities bar have violent criminal histories that should have precluded them from possessing guns, a review of Minnesota court records shows.

Combined, the three men – Terry Lorenzo Brown Jr., 33, Jeffrey Orlando Hoffman, 32, and Devondre Trevon Phillips, 29 – have at least 38 court cases in Minnesota, dating back to 2006.

Both Brown and Hoffman have been convicted of felonies, and both also have been convicted of domestic assault, which makes it illegal for them to possess firearms.

Brown, Hoffman, and Phillips were taken into custody Sunday in connection with a shootout just after midnight at a bar near downtown St. Paul. A 27-year-old woman was killed, and 14 others – including Brown, Hoffman, and Phillips – were injured in the shooting, according to local media reports.

It was the largest mass shooting in recent St. Paul history, according to the Star Tribune.

At a press conference on Sunday, St. Paul’s Democratic mayor, Melvin Carter, said he was “shocked,” “appalled,” and “heartbroken” over the shootout, according to the paper. He also said, “we’re not used to things like this happening in our city,” and “we don’t accept things like this happening in our city.”

However, mounting body counts in St. Paul indicate that “things like this” have been happening more and more regularly in the city. Sunday’s killing was St. Paul’s 32nd of the year, two shy of last year’s total of 34, which matched the all-time high previously set in 1992.

The rap sheets of Brown and Hoffman also show how accepting of criminality Twin Cities leaders have become. Over the last 15 years, the two men have been arrested over and over again, only to be returned to the streets to reoffend, according to court records.

Brown’s criminal record begins in December 2006, when at age 18 he was arrested on a charge of first-degree aggravated robbery, a felony. He convicted in May 2007, and was sentenced to three years in a prison in St. Cloud. However, he was out in time to be arrested again in February 2009 on an underage drinking and driving charge.

Between February 2010 and August 2011, Brown was convicted at least four more times for driving with a revoked license, drug possession, and failure to show proof of insurance. In July 2013 he was arrested and later convicted of aiding and abetting a robbery. A year later he was arrested and eventually convicted of misdemeanor domestic assault. In both 2016 and 2018, Brown was arrested and later convicted of violating a no-contact order, a felony.

He was most recently arrested in September 2020 on a driving while intoxicated charge, and convicted in August. He was sentenced to a year in the county workhouse, but was credited with 86 days of time served, and had the remaining 279 days stayed, court records show.

Hoffman’s first arrest was in April 2007, at the age of 18, on a charge of obstructing the legal process, a misdemeanor, which he was eventually convicted of. The online court records do not provide details about how, exactly, Hoffman obstructed the legal process.

In November 2008, he was arrested and later convicted of misdemeanor burglary. In August 2010, he was arrested and later convicted of domestic assault, also a misdemeanor. And in April 2011, he was arrested and convicted of violating a no contact order, a gross misdemeanor.

In September 2015, Hoffman was arrested and later convicted of illegally possessing a firearm or ammunition. Less than two years later, in January 2017, he was again arrested, and later convicted of a felony for violating an order of protection in a domestic abuse case.

He was sentenced to three years in the St. Cloud prison on the weapons charge, and 21 months for violating the restraining order.

Hoffman’s rap sheet also is littered with traffic offenses. Over the years was charged and convicted at least nine times with driving with a suspended or revoked license, most recently in September 2019.

Phillips, the third man arrested in connection with the shootout, has a less lengthy record in Minnesota, according to court documents. He had four court cases in 2011, for driving without a license, driving with a suspended license, underage drinking, and disorderly conduct, which netted him 90 days in jail. In December 2012, he was arrested and later convicted of fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle, a gross misdemeanor.

His most recent charge and conviction was in 2013 for driving without proof of insurance.