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Gunman in October drive-by gets 6 1/2 years

The man accused of firing several AK-47 semi-automatic rifle rounds at a house in October has been sent to prison.

Joshua Tucker Cunningham, 40, was sentenced Monday to 78 months and 60 months in prison, to be served concurrently. He received credit for 133 days served.

Cunningham pleaded guilty in January in Olmsted County District Court to one count each of drive-by shooting and possessing a firearm after a conviction for a crime of violence, both felonies.

In exchange for the plea, additional charges of ineligible person in possession of a firearm; second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon; and use of police radios during the commission of a felony, all felonies, were dismissed.

Sean Michael Biren, 37, was arrested in connection with the crime three days later at his home. Biren has been charged with being an accomplice to a drive-by shooting after the fact and aiding an offender, both felonies.


The charges stem from an incident Oct. 20, when law enforcement received several 911 calls reporting multiple gunshots fired in the area of 43rd Street and 18th Avenue Northwest. Responding officers found three boys, ages 15, 13 and 8, standing outside 1800 43rd St.

The boys told police they had been home alone when they heard the gunfire "and bullets started coming through the walls," Capt. John Sherwin said the next day.

Officers discovered three rounds had entered the home, 11 or 12 had hit a vehicle in the driveway and one was found in the garage. Bullet holes were found in two bedrooms and a bathroom, the report says.

Moments after police arrived, the boys' 35-year-old father came home and immediately reported he thought Cunningham had done the shooting, Sherwin said.

The man told officers he and Cunningham had been in a dispute about money stemming from a stereo purchase. Earlier that day, Cunningham had confronted the man in a parking lot, allegedly pointing a gun at him and demanding the debt be paid.

The boys' father was frightened by the encounter, he said, and went to a relative's house after the confrontation. While there, he learned about the drive-by shooting at his home.

Authorities went to Cunningham's house and watched his activities; at one point, he came out of the house and made an underhand tossing motion, court documents say, and an officer heard the sound of metal striking pavement.

Eventually, Cunningham began to walk away from the area, so officers moved in to make the arrest. He was taken into custody without incident, but was carrying a loaded handgun in his back pocket, the complaint says.


In addition, he was carrying a handheld scanner, set to receive Olmsted County law enforcement communications.

A sweep of the property for the metallic object that hit pavement turned up one round of ammunition that appeared to match the casings found at the scene of the shooting, the reports say.

The next afternoon, Cunningham called a man — later identified as Biren — from the Adult Detention Center. During their conversation, Cunningham asked Biren if everything had been "disappeared." When Biren said it hadn't been, Cunningham allegedly directed him to "disappear it."

Biren responded, "so long as they don't have that certain address I think everything will be fine."

When officers spoke to Biren the day after the call, he told them Cunningham had come to his home the evening of the shooting, ranting about the victim owing him money. He eventually admitted Cunningham had returned about 9:30 p.m. and gave him an AK-47 concealed in a nylon bag, the complaint says.

After hearing about the shooting, Biren reportedly moved the gun to the trunk of his car; officers found it there.

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