St. Paul man receives prison sentence for shooting victim during catalytic converter theft

Court records show a St. Paul man will serve time in prison following a shooting earlier this year.

According to online records, 22-year-old Kaw Bleh Htoo has been convicted of one count of 2nd Degree Assault and two counts of 1st Degree Attempted Aggravated Robbery.

Monday, a judge sentenced Htoo to serve just under four and a half years (52.5 months) at the St. Cloud prison. He will also get credit for 132 days he has previously served after taking a plea deal in July.

As previously reported, police were called to a business near West Territorial Road and Raymond Avenue at about 3:40 p.m. on Feb. 21 for a report of someone being shot.

The 51-year-old victim told police he’d been shot in the butt after noticing someone under an employee’s Toyota Tundra and confronting the person.

According to a criminal complaint, the victim said he put his foot on one of the legs sticking out from under the Tundra and yelled “stop that!” but then heard a gunshot, realized he’d been hit and went back inside the business. He suffered a broken pelvis and couldn’t walk for at least six weeks.

Surveillance video confirmed the man’s account and showed a dark blue, two-door Toyota Scion TC parked next to the Tundra, the complaint states. After the gunshot, the person under the Tundra scrambled into the Scion, which then fled the scene.

Two days later, police saw a vehicle matching the Scion’s description run a red light near Rice and Front streets. The Scion fled and crashed into a snowbank on Sylvan Street and the occupants ran away, the complaint states. However, police were able to find three people, including the driver — Eh Ler Pweh — and an ammunition magazine for a semi-automatic handgun. The Scion had also been reported stolen on Feb. 2.

Pweh admitted the gun was his and said he was trying to steal the catalytic converter at the business two days prior. However, he said the gunshot came from someone in the Scion.

The complaint states police were able to find text messages between Pweh and a number determined to belong to Htoo. When arrested on Wednesday, Htoo eventually admitted to shooting the man during the attempted catalytic converter theft, saying he was scared of the man. However, he wouldn’t say where the gun was and claimed he didn’t know it was loaded.