A St. Croix County jury on Friday convicted a Minnesota man accused of opening fire on six people in a vehicle last year in Hudson in what might have been a Somali immigrant gang fight.
The jury of eight women and four men found Ahmed Hirsi, Minneapolis, guilty on 13 of the 16 felony counts he faced. Three of the 13 guilty verdicts were for first-degree attempted murder.
The 27-year-old sat motionless as Dunn County Circuit Court Judge James Peterson read the jury’s verdict and as jurors individually confirmed their verdicts.
Hirsi was charged in January 2014 with 16 crimes, including six counts of first-degree attempted homicide. A criminal complaint alleged Hirsi shot up a Kia SUV loaded with six people Jan. 19, 2014, outside the Spirit Seller liquor store on Second Street in Hudson.
“He just starts shooting it up like it was the wild, wild west,” Assistant St. Croix County District Attorney Michael Nieskes said during his closing argument.
The complaint stated the shooting involved rival members of Somali gangs, though that information was not presented in court.
Three people were wounded by gunfire in the incident, which led to Hirsi’s arrest later that day in Bloomington, Minn. Prosecutors alleged Hirsi fled the scene in a Cadillac with another man, who they claim drove Hirsi to his mother’s home to change clothes after the shooting.
Police later searched that St. Paul home, where they recovered a box of handgun ammunition that prosecutors argued matched the slugs used in the Hudson shooting.
Hirsi, who represented himself in court, maintained throughout the trial that someone else was responsible for the shootings.
“The person who committed these crimes is a fugitive and I am in custody,” he said during his closing argument.
Hirsi more than once told jurors that he was innocent — a breach of an agreement that he would not testify. Peterson later ruled Hirsi in contempt of court for the infractions
Jurors considered more than 100 pieces of evidence and four days’ worth of witness testimony, though both sides described how the case came down to two competing versions of events.
Prosecutors offered the testimony of the other man charged in the case, Guled Abdi.
The Minneapolis man testified that he was sitting at the driver’s seat of a Cadillac when his passenger, Hirsi, opened fire on the other vehicle after a verbal argument.
Initially charged with 17 counts — including the same homicide charges Hirsi faced — Abdi agreed to provide state’s evidence in return for a sentence reduction. He was sentenced Friday to serve out the remaining 2.5 months of a two-year sentence in St. Croix County jail.
Meanwhile, Hirsi urged jurors to consider the testimony of one of the shooting victims, Abdirahman Hersi. Hersi testified that he saw the shooter, and though the shooter bore an identical resemblance to Hirsi, it was not him.
Hirsi’s sentencing date has not yet been set.