MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A 23-year-old Minneapolis man has been charged with fatally shooting an acquaintance who allegedly broke into his home last Thursday night.
The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office announced Monday that Travis Leonard is charged with intentional second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter in the shooting death of 23-year-old Dylan Lattery of Owatonna.
According to the criminal complaint, police responded to a report of a shooting just before 11 p.m. on the 1100 block of Irving Avenue North in Minneapolis on Sept. 24. Leonard, who called the police, told them that he shot someone who he claimed broke into his house.
Police found the victim lying face down near a back door of the home, wearing a black hoodie, mask and gloves. He was also holding a hatchet. The victim was not breathing, and police were unable to resuscitate him.
A search warrant was executed by police who found a sheath covering to the hatchet outside Leonard’s bedroom upstairs, as well as Leonard’s gun just inside the bedroom closet. Officers also found a safe near the gun with $13,000 outside and on top. Another room also had a suitcase filled with marijuana in vacuum sealed bags, according to the complaint.
Leonard initially told police that the victim broke into his house, stood in the bedroom doorway where Leonard, his wife and child were, and was holding a hatchet. He continued saying that the two began fighting, and ended up downstairs, where Leonard called for his wife to get the gun and bring it to him, the complaint states. The two continued fighting and Leonard was able to push the victim off, grab the gun and shoot him in the stomach, and eventually the head.
Police say Leonard’s wife gave a statement that had some “major differences,” including the fact that Leonard was on top of Lattery and beating him before he called for the gun. When police asked about the discrepancies, Leonard finally admitted to knowing Lattery and that he had sold drugs to him before.
According to the complaint, both Leonard and his wife told investigators that the victim asked for his life to be ended following the initial gunshot that struck him. Leonard admitted to police that he shot Lattery in the back of the head while he was face down on the ground, and that he placed the hatchet back in the victim’s hand to make it appear as though the victim was still a threat.
An autopsy found that the victim was shot twice – once in the mid-back and once in the back of the head.
Leonard is scheduled to make his first court appearance on Sept. 29. If convicted, he could face a maximum of 55 years in prison.