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2 Men Arrested In Coon Rapids Shopping Center Shooting

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(credit: CBS) Bill Hudson
Bill Hudson has been with WCCO-TV since 1989. The native of Elk Rive...
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COON RAPIDS (WCCO) — Two men have been arrested after bullets were fired at an Original Mattress Factory store in Coon Rapids, according to police.

At around 3 a.m. Monday morning, an employee of Panera Bread who was preparing for the store’s opening heard the sound of the bullets piercing the store’s walls.

When police arrived, they discovered the driveway littered with the spent shell casings from an SKS semi-automatic rifle, which shoots a high-powered 7.62mm round.

The gunshots tore through the walls of the mattress store and penetrated the walls of two adjacent stores: Panera Bread, where one of its employees heard the shots and called police, and the adjacent Hawaii Nails salon.

“We lucked out that nobody was hit by the numerous rounds fired by a very high velocity assault weapon,” said Coon Rapids Police Captain Cary Parks.

The salon is still open for business, despite the mess of bullet holes clearly seen on its walls.

According to police, a frightened 26-year-old employee of the mattress store was spending the night in the store to get away from her husband, identified as 26-year-old Christopher Michael McConnell.

According to a criminal complaint, the woman told investigators that McConnell was threatening her and told her that he would “f— up her business!”

Police were able to quickly track down McConnell because he called his wife and arranged to meet her at a New Brighton McDonald’s restaurant following the shooting. When two suspects arrived at the restaurant, they were immediately taken into police custody.

McConnell is now in custody at the Anoka County Jail.

Arrested along with McConnell, was his alleged accomplice. Police say 20-year-old James Leanthony Butler drove McConnell to Coon Rapids where the shooting occurred and then drove him to a Blaine mobile home park where McConnell attempted to hide the gun.

Both men have been charged with felony counts of drive-by shooting.

“We were lucky that we were able to find them quickly, we were able to recover the weapon and, again, we were very fortunate that nobody was injured in this incident,” said Parks.

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