Man receives 7-year sentence for fatal downtown Minneapolis shooting

A man has been sentenced after pleading guilty to a charge of first-degree manslaughter that was filed in connection to a fatal shooting at a downtown Minneapolis apartment in August 2022.

Court records show that 22-year-old Mohamed Ahmed Said Zaher has been sentenced to serve 86 months, or just over seven years, at the St. Cloud prison for the death of 31-year-old Ahmed Elsaied.

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In exchange for the guilty plea filed in November of 2023, a charge of second-degree murder was dismissed during his hearing on Monday morning. That plea agreement called for a sentencing range of 86-103 months (between seven and eight-and-a-half years.)

Police were called to the Artistry on 10th Apartments building on the corner of South 10th Street and Marquette Avenue at around 7:45 p.m. on Aug. 7, 2022. Witnesses reported seeing a man throw a gun from a balcony onto the rooftop of the WCCO-TV building.

When they arrived, police found Zaher in the building’s lobby with blood spatter on his clothes and hands, according to a criminal complaint. Zaher then told officers his friend was shot on the 13th floor by a man wearing a black mask.

Inside the 13th-floor apartment, officers found Elsaied unresponsive in a large pool of blood with an apparent gunshot wound to his head. Elsaied was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead.

In an interview with police, Zaher said he was friends with Elsaied and had been living with him for several months. He added that he’d left the apartment for around 15 minutes to visit another friend and, when he came back, saw a masked man running from the apartment. Inside, he found Elsaied had been shot, so he “went crazy” and threw the gun off the balcony, the complaint states.

When he was told other witness statements contradicted his, the complaint states Zaher changed his story, saying he was handling Elsaied’s handgun when the gun went off, striking Elsaied. He then panicked and threw the gun from the balcony.