Man who claimed self-defense acquitted of attempted murder, assault charges from Maplewood triple shooting

A man who shot three people in a Maplewood parking lot in August of 2021 was acquitted of all charges related to the incident.

Court documents show a jury found 26-year-old Brandon Joseph Garza not guilty on all counts, including multiple second-degree attempted murder charges and first-degree and second-degree assault charges.

Police say three people — ages 12, 15 and 21 — all suffered gunshot wounds when Garza opened fire.

RELATED: Suspect in Maplewood triple shooting pleads not guilty

The complaint shows the shooting happened in the parking lot of an apartment building in the 400 block of McKnight Road South at about 5 p.m. on Aug. 7.

Arriving officers then found a Chevy Camaro in the parking lot with its driver’s door open and an empty Glock gun case on the front passenger’s seat. There were also 14 shell casings in the parking lot.

Surveillance camera footage showed the Camaro pulling into the parking lot and stopping in front of a Honda Odyssey.

Two boys, the 12-year-old and the 15-year-old, carried football gear to the Odyssey and stepped inside. A man who was identified as “AS” stepped out of the Odyssey and approached the Camaro with a handgun held at his side.

At the same time, Garza got out of the Camaro’s driver’s seat and a man known as “Flip” stepped out of the Camaro’s front passenger seat.

The complaint states that footage shows Garza crouched behind the rear driver’s side of the Camaro and that AS began to move back toward the Odyssey. AS then turned his body away from Garza while the 12-year-old was standing just a few feet behind AS.

The complaint states that Garza then opened fire and that the video never showed AS pointing the gun at Garza or “Flip”.

After Garza fired, AS and the two boys fell to the ground and tried to take cover, the complaint states. “Flip” fled as Garza began shooting, and AS dropped a handgun on the sidewalk while scrambling to take cover. Garza then fled on foot, leaving the Camaro behind. It also states the two boys fled, the person Garza shot at got back into the Odyssey and the Odyssey left. A witness recovered the gun from the scene.

The complaint states Garza was later arrested and told officers, “I had to – it was self-defense.” Officers also recovered a Glock handgun from his pocket.

Officers located the two boys who were at the scene; one had a gunshot wound to his armpit and the other had a gunshot wound to his chest, the complaint states. They were taken to the hospital.

Another person drove AS to a hospital to be treated for gunshot wounds to his face, arm, legs and chest. The complaint also states that another person who was in the Camaro when the shooting happened confirmed to officers that Garza was the person who shot the victims.

In the complaint, officers wrote, “The conflict appears to be a social media dispute,” and that the people in the Camaro may have heard the person Garza shot at say something about a man named Aaron, who was the brother of “Flip” but died in a shooting two years ago.