Minneapolis man, 50, sentenced in August violent crime spree that included shooting at St. Paul homeowner during burglary, two carjackings

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A Minneapolis man has been sentenced to more than eight years prison for firing shots at a homeowner and his family during a mid-day burglary in St. Paul’s Battle Creek neighborhood and then carjacking two separate people at gunpoint as he fled.

Leonard Rozell, 50, in May pleaded guilty in Ramsey County District Court to one count each of first-degree attempted aggravated robbery, first-degree burglary with a dangerous weapon and second-degree assault in connection with the Aug. 9 violent crime spree.

Eight other charges relating to the series of crimes, including one count of second-degree attempted murder, were dismissed at Rozell’s July 14 sentencing, when Judge Edward Sheu gave him 98 months in prison. Rozell will receive credit for 323 days already served in custody.

Around 4 p.m., a homeowner in the 2000 block of Suburban Avenue walked into his house to find a man, later identified as Rozell, trying to lift a flat-screen TV off the dresser in the homeowner’s daughter’s bedroom, according to the criminal complaint.

When confronted, Rozell allegedly pulled a handgun from a holster on his right hip and fired at the man, striking the door frame, the complaint said. The homeowner ran out of the house to warn his girlfriend and her three children, who were still in the driveway.

Rozell came around the corner of the house and fired two more rounds, the complaint said. One bullet went over the car and struck a window across the street. The other hit the ground.

CARJACKING

While police officers were responding to the Suburban Avenue address, lifting fingerprints and recovering 9mm shell casings, they learned that the burglar, later identified as Rozell, had carjacked a blue Dodge Durango from a woman who was loading grocery bags outside the Aldi grocery store down the street.

The woman told police the man pointed a gun at her face and demanded her keys. She locked the Durango and tried walking away, but he grabbed her shirt, forcibly took the keys from her and drove off.

While officers were at Aldi, viewing surveillance footage and speaking to the woman, they learned that Rozell had first tried to steal a vehicle from an elderly woman on Suburban Avenue, according to the complaint. The woman didn’t have any keys. That man matched the description of Rozell in the video footage, the complaint said.

As officers were pursuing the Dodge Durango, they received another call regarding a robbery in the 800 block of Euclid Street. A man matching Rozell’s description approached a man who was cutting wooden pallets inside his garage. Rozell pointed a gun at his back and told him, “Give me all you have,” the complaint states. He pistol-whipped the man and stole his van and wallet.

Both stolen vehicles were later recovered.

PRIOR CONVICTIONS

The next day, as officers interviewed neighbors, they were pointed to Rozell’s girlfriend, who told police Rozell had been talking about robbing the neighbors because they had money and drugs, according to the complaint.

In September 2020, Rozell was in court facing criminal sexual conduct charges for inappropriately touching a 7-year-old girl and an 11-year-old girl. He was convicted of second-degree criminal sexual conduct, but received no prison time — other than time served — per Ramsey County District Judge Nicole Starr. He was sentenced to three years’ probation.

Rozell also has prior felony convictions in Minnesota for second-degree burglary, receiving stolen property, simple robbery, first-degree burglary, third-degree attempted burglary and fleeing police in a motor vehicle. In Illinois, he has convictions for burglary, armed robbery and delivery of a controlled substance, according to authorities.

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