Newly filed court documents reveal more details from Winston Smith death scene

An investigator says he found cartridge casings, bullet fragments and a pistol.
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Recently filed search warrants shed new light on what investigators claim to have found at the scene of Winston Smith's fatal shooting.

The search warrants were filed Monday in Hennepin County District Court by a special agent with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA), the agency investigating Smith's June 3 death atop a parking ramp in Minneapolis' Uptown neighborhood. 

The agent recovered 14 cartridge casings from a 9mm Luger outside Smith's vehicle, as well as one cartridge. Bullet fragments were discovered on the dashboard, front passenger seat, rear passenger seat, front driver seat, front driver side floor and front driver side door.

The agent also located a Smith & Wesson M&P 380 pistol on the front driver side, six 380 Auto ammunition casings inside the vehicle, and a magazine loaded with Blazer 380 Auto ammunition that was in a duffel in Smith's car.

Despite Smith's killing occurring two weeks ago, details remain murky.

The U.S. Marshals Service has said little about circumstances surrounding the incident, only that its fugitive task force that was attempting to apprehend Smith on a firearms-related warrant, that he refused to comply, and that he "produced a handgun."

The BCA has said two deputies – one with the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office, the other with the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office – "discharged their weapons," striking Smith. The agency also said there was evidence Smith fired a weapon from inside his vehicle, but has not disclosed which party fired first.

No bodycam, squad cam, or surveillance footage of the incident exists, according to authorities, and a woman in the car with Smith at the time of the shooting has said she did not see him produce a gun. The deputies who fired were undercover and therefore will not be identified publicly. The BCA has not said how many times the deputies fired their weapons, but the medical examiner ruled Smith died of "multiple gunshot wounds."

The lack of clarity and sometimes conflicting information has prompted calls for greater transparency, with some community groups also demanding the head of the U.S. Marshals Service in Minnesota resign. There is also skepticism over law enforcement's narrative of events, in light of the Minneapolis Police Department's initial description of George Floyd's murder.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, in a statement sent to Bring Me The News from his office, said he has reached out to the U.S. Attorney's Office to "press them on sharing more information about the circumstances around Winston Smith’s killing."

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On Tuesday this week, Minneapolis Council President Lisa Bender, who represents Ward 10, including Uptown, described the information coming from law enforcement as "incomplete and inconsistent," saying:  "We need answers about what happened and why from U.S. Marshals, and from the state BCA which is investigating."

Protestors have been at the intersection of Lake Street and Girard Avenue, near the parking ramp where Smith was killed, since the shooting. Some demonstrators have taken to shutting down the streets with makeshift barriers, some Frey said was unsafe and needed to stop. The barriers have continued to go up, even after city workers take them down.

On Wednesday, Frey requested Minnesota National Guard soldiers be on the ready in case they are "needed" to help "ensur[e] calm and order" in the city.

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