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Man arrested after late-night handgun incident in Cottage Grove church parking lot

A Brooklyn Park man faces a felony charge after he admitted to firing a handgun at random in the middle of the night in a Cottage Grove church parking lot.

Police arrested Samuel Latimore Jr., 31, on suspicion of multiple offenses following an incident early Thursday, Aug. 15.

A Cottage Grove police sergeant leaving the public safety headquarters on Keats Avenue heard what sounded like fireworks or gunshots shortly after 1 a.m. The officer checked the area and found two people in a minivan with no lights on in the parking lot of Christ the Lord Lutheran Church, at the corner of 90th Street and Keats Avenue.

As the officer pulled into the lot, the minivan driver immediately put his hands in the air. The officer said he was checking into whether fireworks had been used and the men admitted that they had shot a handgun in the area, according to the police report. Both men also had been drinking.

The officer called for backup, and multiple squads arrived.

Latimore, the passenger, said he was firing the gun, and police found shell casings in the area. Latimore has a conceal-and-carry permit, but was arrested on suspicion of a permit violation because police said he was intoxicated. He also was arrested for felony reckless discharge of a firearm, open bottle in a vehicle and obstructing the legal process. Police said Latimore wasn’t following commands.

Police said the driver, a 32-year-old Cottage Grove man, will be cited for fourth-degree drunken driving and allowing an open bottle in a vehicle.

-Scott Wente