ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Duluth man charged in drive-by shooting says he was out of town at time of crime

A Lakeside-Lester Park man claims that he wasn't in town at the time he is accused of shooting a man for making derogatory comments about him not being in a real gang and that he has witnesses to prove it.

Mark Lambert Uran
Mark Lambert Uran

A Lakeside-Lester Park man claims that he wasn't in town at the time he is accused of shooting a man for making derogatory comments about him not being in a real gang and that he has witnesses to prove it.

Mark Lambert Uran, 38, is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, drive-by shooting and second-degree assault in connection with the April 17 incident at 2121 W. Third St., in Duluth.

Defense attorney Keith Shaw told Judge Eric Hylden that he will present an alibi defense at Uran's next hearing on May 18. Shaw told the court that two to three witnesses will testify that Uran was with them in the Twin Cities at the time the victim was shot in the leg. He said there is also evidence that Uran's cell phone was used in the Twin Cities at that time.

According to the criminal complaint: The shooting victim, Thomas N. Billington, 23, said that Uran claims to be of Mexican descent and claims to belong to the Mara Salvatrucha gang (also known as MS 13), an extremely violent transnational criminal gang that originated in Los Angeles.

Billington told Duluth police that he had been drinking with Uran a few months ago and he made derogatory comments about Uran not being in a real gang. Billington told an officer that he had been in jail earlier this month and encountered one of Uran's friends. Billington said the jailed man told him that Uran was "out to get him" for his comments about the gang.

ADVERTISEMENT

On April 17, Billington took his dogs outside his residence and saw Uran's vehicle parked in the alley. Billington told police that Uran called him over to the vehicle. He said he thought Uran was going to try to smooth over their earlier dispute. When Billington got up to the driver's side window, he saw Uran holding a gun in his lap. Billington said that Uran raised the gun and pointed it at him. He said he saw a red laser dot on his chest, the complaint alleges.

Billington said he pushed the gun down and Uran shot, causing a bullet to strike Billington's left leg. The victim was shown a photo lineup and he picked out Uran and said he was "99.9 percent sure that (Uran) was the one who shot me," the complaint alleges.

Uran has 31 criminal and traffic cases filed against him in eight Minnesota counties. He appeared in State District Court in a wheelchair. According to a police report, Uran is in a wheelchair because he is also a victim of a shooting. Outside the courtroom Wednesday, a friend of the defendant's said that Uran was shot about four years ago and the shooter was never apprehended.

Shaw asked the court to reduce Uran's $150,000 bail based on the defense attorney's belief that the strength of the prosecution's case has been reduced and his client has health issues. St. Louis County prosecutor Leslie Beiers opposed the reduction arguing that the defendant is accused of a very serious offense, has a significant history of violence and of failing to appear for his court hearings.

Hylden told the parties that he wouldn't alter the bail, but the issue can be revisited after the May 18 hearing when the witnesses testify on Uran's behalf.

Related Topics: CRIME
What To Read Next
The system crashed earlier this month, grounding flights across the U.S.