FARGO — Two of the three men shot behind a downtown Fargo bar in February are charged with allegedly assaulting the man accused of shooting them.

Prosecutors allege Brandon Roosevelt Grant, 43, shot Tommie Trent, 34, of West Fargo, Willie Earl Carr Jr., 29, Moorhead, and John Clemons, 41, Fargo, after an altercation inside the Bismarck Tavern, 522 N. Broadway, on Feb. 21. Trent and Carr have since been charged with Class B misdemeanor counts of conspiracy to commit simple assault in connection to the fight.

Grant pleaded not guilty in Cass County District Court this week to three attempted murder and three aggravated assault charges, all felonies, in connection to the shooting.

Before the shooting, Carr walked up to Grant, who was sitting at the bar, and showed Grant a cellphone, according to court documents. Carr then handed the phone to Trent before allegedly punching Grant multiple times, a criminal complaint said.

Brandon Grant
Brandon Grant

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Grant was, at the time, under investigation by the Fargo Police Department on allegations that he molested a child Carr knew, Fargo Detective Troy Hanson said Wednesday in court. Several people joined the fight, but it was quickly broken up by bar staff, court documents said.

Trent, Carr and Clemons were escorted out of the bar through the back door, Hanson said. Grant followed after the men and wasn’t escorted out, but it’s possible he was asked to leave, the detective added.

Grant pulled out a gun and shot Trent, Carr and Clemons before fleeing, court documents allege. Carr was shot three times, Trent four and Clemons once, the documents said.

Video shows what unfolded outside the bar, Hanson said, though the recording has not been shown in court yet.

Grant claims he was trying to prevent the three men from harming or killing him, his defense attorney Steven Mottinger said. He argued there wasn’t enough evidence to charge him with attempted murder.

“It’s clear that Mr. Grant was assaulted inside the bar,” Mottinger said.

Trent and Carr have pleaded not guilty to their charges. Clemons will not be charged, Cass County Assistant State's Attorney Ryan Younggren said.

Trent's attorney, Scott Brand, said he couldn't comment on the case since he hasn't received evidence for his review. Carr's attorney, Leah Carlson, did not return a message left by The Forum.

Hindering charge dismissed

Judge Tristan Van de Streek found enough evidence to continue with the charges against Grant, but dismissed a hindering charge against Grant’s 35-year-old fiancee, Antoinette Rose Rodriguez. She and Grant were arrested March 22 at the Hotel deluxe in Fargo.

Antoinette Rodriguez wipes tears from her face.
Antoinette Rodriguez wipes tears from her face.

Prosecutors alleged Rodriguez did not inform police where Grant was, despite knowing he was a wanted man. The charge said she provided means for Grant to avoid arrest.

It's unclear who paid for the room, Cass County Assistant State's Attorney Tracy Hines said. A hotel room where the couple was found was rented under Grant's relative's name.

Hanson explained what police reports said about Rodriguez's arrest, though he noted he is not the case agent for her investigation. When asked by Van de Streek what Rodriguez did, Hanson said Wednesday, “I don’t know."

Rodriguez's attorney, Leah Carlson, said prosecutors overcharged her client. Van de Streek found there was not enough evidence to continue with prosecution.

Rodriguez said she was happy that her case was dropped, but it broke her heart to watch her fiance face charges in court. She also disputed the molestation allegations against Grant and said he was assaulted for no reason.

“They should be held accountable for what they did to him (Grant) and me,” she said, adding this case has torn her family apart. “He needs to come home. He didn’t deserve this.”

The investigation into the molestation allegations remains active, according to Fargo Police Department spokeswoman Jessica Schindeldecker.