Charges: Trio of Minnesotans caught with guns in plateless car during protests

It's still unclear how many non-Minnesotans have been involved in destructive acts.
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The full extent of how many "agitators" from outside of Minnesota have been involved in looting, arson and riots since the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis remains a mystery, but at least three people arrested after being caught driving in a vehicle with its license plate removed are Minnesotans. 

Junior G. Smith, 24 of Rochester, Augustine Z. Livingstone, 22, of Ramsey, and Peter Shin, 29, of St. Paul, have been charged in Hennepin County District Court with second-degree riot while armed with a dangerous weapon. 

Gov. Tim Walz initially estimated that 80 percent of those causing damage and destruction in the Twin Cities were from out of state. The estimate, which was later adjusted to 20 percent, came on the heels of the mayor of Hudson penning a letter to Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers requesting National Guard assistance out of fear that up to 75,000 anarchists could be traveling to the Twin Cities. 

None of those reports were confirmed and the widespread looting and rioting seen late last week seems to have mostly originated people from people in Minnesota.

According to a criminal complaint, police confiscated two guns, a hammer and an electric grinding tool from the trio of Minnesotan men. 

Police, who were responding to a report of looters and someone with a gun in the area of S. Pillsbury Avenue and E. Lake Street, spotted them in a Mercedes with its license plate removed and speeding on Lake Street around 1 a.m. Sunday. 

“Officers ordered the vehicle to stop with guns drawn,” the complaint says. 

Smith was in possession of a pistol and carrying a backpack with a hammer and spray paint inside. The complaint says Shin had a backpack carrying a gun and an electric grinding tool, and Livingstone was the driver. 

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During a Sunday media briefing, John Harrington, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS), said that authorities have discovered "caches of incendiaries" and a "cache of stolen vehicles" that vandals used to carry out attacks.

"We are now finding caches of incendiaries all over the metro area and greater Minnesota adjacent to spots where fires have been set or where we've had large riot confrontations," said Harrington, noting that the stolen, plateless vehicles were being used to transport the flammables. 

Two Minnesota men, one from Long Lake and the other from Savage, have been charged in federal court for the firebombing of a courthouse in Apple Valley. 

One example of a non-Minnesotan allegedly carrying out violence involves an Illinois man who traveled to the Twin Cities with explosives. The man was caught after posting videos of himself on social media. 

The FBI is now asking anyone with photos or videos of violent acts to submit them for review. 

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