WHITE BEAR LAKE — A suspect has been charged with a gross misdemeanor weapons violation after a shooting at Solid Ground homeless transition shelter last fall.

Ernest Xavier Breland, 27, of Minneapolis, allegedly fled police after he fired a gun at Solid Ground on Century Avenue about 1:30 a.m. Nov. 4, according to court documents.

A White Bear Lake Police Officer saw a man with an afro hairstyle, wearing white pants and a dark colored sweatshirt, leave a vehicle in the area and run into the woods. A Ramsey County Sheriff's Office K-9 came to the scene and found a black sweatshirt in the woods. Officers located Breland after they heard a loud cracking noise in the woods.

A Solid Ground security guard witnessed the shooting incident and was injured. He stated he was attempting to break up a conflict. A single gunshot was fired through a glass entry door. Shattered glass injured the guard's face. The guard's report was consistent with security camera footage.

Police returned to search the area the next day. A 9mm Luger Hi-Point Model 09 handgun was found in the woods near where they found the suspect. The casings inside the magazine matched one found near an outbuilding in the area the day of the shooting. White Bear Lake Police Detective Andrew Burth requested testing for the DNA on the firearm. It matched Breland's DNA.

Breland was previously convicted of first-degree robbery, so he is ineligible to possess a firearm. The maximum sentence for gross misdemeanor charge made against Breland last month, possession of a firearm by a prohibited person (due to a prior felony conviction), is one year in prison and a $3,000 fine. He was also charged with misdemeanor fleeing police on foot, with a maximum sentence of 90 days and a $1,000 fine.

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