from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Robert J. Blink
(trial and sentencing) and Scott D. Rosenberg (verdict),
Marco Gipson appeals his conviction by jury trial for going
armed with intent on sufficiency-of-the-evidence grounds.
C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Robert P. Ranschau,
Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Louis S. Sloven, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Vogel and Tabor, JJ.
Marco Gipson sprayed the front of a Des Moines pub with
bullets shot from a semiautomatic rifle. He contends the
State did not prove he intended to use the weapon against
another person-an element of going armed with intent.
Considering all of the evidence in the light most favorable
to the jury's verdict, we find substantial proof of
Gipson's intent. Accordingly, we affirm his conviction.
Facts and Prior Proceedings
January 2017, Gipson and his girlfriend, Tara Nguyen, were
arguing "more often than usual." Nguyen went to
stay with her mother for a few weeks. Around the same time,
Nguyen let an old friend borrow her Buick. When Gipson saw
the friend driving, Gipson took the Buick from him.
January 21, the friction between Nguyen and Gipson escalated
when they encountered each other at the Beaver Tap. Gipson
came into the bar with several friends and asked to talk with
Nguyen outside. Gipson yelled at Nguyen, asked who she was
with, and told her to leave. Nguyen left, heading across the
street to Saints Pub. Gipson and his friend, Derrick Peoples,
watched Nguyen go into the pub. Peoples said Gipson then went
to his car, took his AK-74 semiautomatic rifle out of the trunk,
and started shooting toward the pub. Unbeknownst to Gipson,
Nguyen had already left Saints Pub after calling a friend to
pick her up. She left through the back door, not visible to
shooting sounded like a "mag dump" according to the
description from a witness who was drinking at another nearby
bar that night. The witness testified: "Somebody emptied
a semiautomatic rifle. It wasn't a pistol. I could tell
the difference." A bartender at Saints Pub heard sounds
like "pops" that prompted everyone in the bar drop
to the floor. Television screens inside the bar were hit.
Several windows and the bar's external garage doors also
bore bullet holes. Bullets damaged four cars in the pub's
parking lot. Investigators determined twenty-five bullet
casings recovered from the scene came from an AK-74
fled the scene, but law enforcement later connected him to
the shooting through reports from his friends at the bar.
Officers also recovered the semiautomatic rifle, which Nguyen
identified as belonging to Gipson. The State charged Gipson
with two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm;
one count of going armed with intent; one count of
intimidation with a dangerous weapon; two counts of criminal
mischief; and one count of reckless use of a firearm. A jury
returned guilty verdicts on all counts except for
intimidation with a dangerous weapon. The court sentenced
Gipson to imprisonment not to exceed twenty-seven years.
appeal, Gipson contends the evidence was insufficient to
convict him of going armed with intent, in violation of Iowa
Code section 708.8 (2017).