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Suspect pleads not guilty to alleged shooting

A 20-year-old Austin man has pleaded not guilty to charges saying that he shot another man in the leg during a Jan. 27 drug deal at Western Manor Apartments.

Kuoviy Kwot Omot

Kuoviy Kwot Omot appeared in Mower County District Court Thursday on three felonies: attempted aggravated assault with a dangerous weapon, second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon – substantial bodily harm and possession of a firearm by a person convicted of a delinquent crime.

Phabayo Nygare Gilo, 19 — who faces charges in multiple other cases, one where gunshots were fired after a dispute over a woman — was also identified as being involved in the incident but hasn’t been charged.

According to court records, officers responded to a shooting at unit one of Western Manor, 2600 Third Ave. SW, at about 5:40 a.m. on Jan. 27 after getting a report that a man had been shot and was being transported to Mayo Clinic Health System in Austin. The victim was later transported to Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea for surgery.

Police were able to piece together details of the incident from talks with the victim and witnesses, along with surveillance videos. The victim and another man met Omot and Gilo outside unit one of Western Manor to buy marijuana, but Gilo and Omot tried to get the victim’s money. He had $1,809 in his wallet, police found during the investigation.

Phabayo Nygare Gilo

During the altercation, Gilo allegedly told Omot to shoot the victim. Two shots were fired, one hitting the victim in the left leg. The other man with the victim then drove him to the hospital.

Police arrived on scene shorty after but were unable to find either suspect.

A 9 mm shell casing was found that day, and a second was found a few days later by a Western Manor resident and turned over to police.

Phabayo Nygare Gilo, 19

One witness told police that Gilo told him Omot had shot someone, and he said that Omot owned a 9mm pistol, which he’d previously pulled on another person. He suspected Gilo and Omot wanted to rob the victim “because that’s what they do.”

The victim was able to pick Omot out of a photo array but not Gilo. However, police matched prints from Gilo’s shoes, taken while he was in jail on another case, to prints found at the scene.

On March 22, Omot was arrested on the 300 block of Second Avenue Southwest. Omot initially refused to provide any identification to police, and instead stated the name of an Austin police officer. But officers were able to confirm his identity.

Omot’s criminal history shows juvenile incidents for second-degree assault, second-degree burglary, possession of a firearm and first-degree burglary from 2007 to 2015.

Omot is scheduled for a June 12 trial.