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Guilty plea in Austin shooting investigation

Samantha Bennett Samantha Bennett

Authorities say a man shot at his car.

Posted: Apr 13, 2018 3:00 PM

AUSTIN, Minn. – A guilty plea has been entered in a stolen car report that turned into a shooting investigation.

Samantha Grace Bennett, 35, and Christopher Edward Coleman, 32, were arrested in early January. Bennett has now pleaded guilty to aiding an offender while Coleman is scheduled to stand trial on June 11 for one count of violent felon in possession of a firearm.

Christopher Coleman

Austin police say Coleman flagged down some officers the evening of January 7 and said his car had been stolen. Police say Coleman told them he was at his home in the 100 block of 2nd Street SE and saw someone driving away in his car. According to court documents, Coleman said the people inside the car started shooting out the window.

Police say they found four 9 millimeter shell casings and broken glass in a parking area near Coleman’s home. His car was then found, parked and running, in the 200 block of 1st Street SE. Police say three .22 caliber shell casings were on the driver’s seat.

Investigators say they believe someone at Coleman’s home shot at the car and a search found a 9 millimeter handgun rolled up inside a piece of carpet. According to police, Bennett says Coleman told her to hide the gun.

Court records show Coleman has previous convictions for violent felonies on his record.

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