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Virginia man sentenced to 14 years for Cloquet drive-by shooting

Jesse Jay Bohanon

A man who shot at and hit two people in a car in Cloquet last July has been sentenced to more than 14 years in prison.

In a plea agreement, Jesse Jay Bohanon, 23, of Virginia pleaded guilty to one count each of first- and second-degree assault in the drive-by shooting case. He also pleaded guilty to assaulting a jailer and agreed to pay restitution for damage to his jail cell, according to Assistant Carlton County Attorney Jeffrey Boucher, who prosecuted the case. Bohanon was sentenced last week.

"Mr. Bohanon's behavior calls for the significant prison sentence he will serve," Boucher said of the sentence of 14 years and five months. "When he fired multiple shots into an occupied vehicle near the intersection of Brevator and Big Lake Road he endangered the lives of the shooting victims as well as the lives of nearby residents and community members who could have been hit by a stray bullet."

Bohanon was originally charged with nine felonies, including two counts of second-degree attempted murder.

Then-Cloquet Police Chief Steve Stracek said last July that Bohanon fired a gun two separate times during the incident at about 2:30 p.m. July 24 in the area of Brevator and Big Lake roads on the Fond du Lac Reservation. He said the injuries occurred during the second round of gunfire.

The victims were on the phone with 911 before the first shots were fired, according to Stracek.

According to the criminal complaint:

Two men and a woman stopped at McDonald's to eat, but were still in their vehicle when Bohanon drove up to the vehicle and began yelling in a threatening manner. The three people decided to leave and Bohanon chased them on Big Lake and Brevator roads. Bohanon sped up to pass and then fired shots at the vehicle; when the victims slammed on the brakes and turned around, Bohanon caught back up to them and fired again, a total of six to eight shots.

The vehicle's driver was shot in the hand and the back-seat passenger was shot in the back. The woman was uninjured. The trio drove to the Fond du Lac Police Department and from there were transported to St. Luke's hospital in Duluth.

During a search of the area, Bohanon's vehicle was found at a home on the 1300 block of Dagwaagin Road. People at the home said he had been there earlier, but left on foot.

He was arrested at about 9:15 p.m. July 24 near the Cloquet Forestry Center.

Police found shell casings in the vehicle he had been driving and on the street where the shooting occurred.

Bohanon has a previous criminal record including felony second-degree burglary and second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon in Aitkin County in June 2013; he was sentenced to 36 months in prison in that case.