MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A 17-year-old boy was sentenced Tuesday in the June shooting that killed a 5-year-old boy who was sleeping on his grandmother’s couch in North Minneapolis.

Last summer, Nizzel George died after bullets tore through the home on Bryant Avenue North, hitting George in the back.

Seventeen-year-old Stephon Shannon pleaded guilty in his murder last week. He was sentenced to 28 years in prison at a Hennepin County Court hearing Tuesday morning.

Shannon admitted the shooting was in retaliation to a different gang shooting in the area a few days before.

It was a difficult day in court for both of the families involved.

One of the most emotional moments was when a victim’s advocate read a letter written by two children, Nizzel’s relatives, who were on the couch with him when he was shot. One of them wrote he should have been hit instead because he was bigger, and the kids felt bad because they couldn’t save his life.

The grandmother of Nizzel George thanked the judge for putting the teenager away, saying prison is where he belongs. She said she prays he gets his life together.

Shannon smiled awkwardly as he walked in handcuffs into court Tuesday, which didn’t set well with the victim’s family. When asked if he had anything to say before receiving his sentence, Shannon told the judge he didn’t intend to hurt Nizzel, but knows nothing he can do or say will bring him back.

“Twenty eight years isn’t enough. My son didn’t even get to the eighth grade, it’s tough right now,” said Cornelius George, Nizzel’s father.

“His life is gone as well as my nephew. He won’t have kids, get married or go to college or have an education all because of the decisions he (Shannon) made,” said Robert George, Nizzel’s uncle.

As Shannon was led away in handcuffs, his family members told him they loved him. Depending on his behavior in prison, he could be eligible for parole in 18 years.

The other suspect — 15-year-old Julian Kijuan Lamar Anderson — also faced multiple murder charges and was certified in October to be tried as an adult.


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