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Fleeing suspect charged with shooting at officer following homicide, police chase

Smith is a key suspect in a fatal shooting in Prior Lake.

A man who shot at police following a chase that spanned several Twin Cities suburbs is being charged.

Derrick Zechariah Smith, 28, of Minneapolis, was charged Monday with first-degree assault – use of deadly force against a police officer in connection to an incident on Nov. 23.

"We are just one of three jurisdictions that want Mr. Smith to face justice," Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said in a news release Monday. "He is a violent man who we already charged last week with a shooting and now he faces charges for shooting at a police officer. Milwaukee wants him for a murder there and he is a key suspect in the Prior Lake killing."

Last Wednesday's incident stemmed from a homicide in Prior Lake, police have said. Prosecutors allege Smith, along with two others, fled Prior Lake after police responded to a report of a shooting, where they found James Wayne Herron, 42, with gunshot wounds that later proved to be fatal, according to Prior Lake police.

Police from several jurisdictions joined the pursuit of the vehicle, which eventually ended on the northbound Highway 169 ramp to Bren Road in Edina. That's when the criminal complaint says Smith got out of the car and fled on foot towards a parking lot – and an Eden Prairie officer followed.

In the lot, Smith turned towards the officer and said he was going to shoot, then fired at him. The officer shot back, hitting Smith. When the officer approached Smith, he pointed the gun at the officer. That's when the officer shot Smith again and waited for backup, before arresting him, the criminal complaint says.

He is expected to appear in court Tuesday in connection to the charges. Prosecutors are seeking $1 million bail.

Smith and three others are suspects in Herron's death, Prior Lake police said last week. Charges in that case are expected to be filed in Scott County this week. According to the criminal complaint, police in Milwaukee are also looking to question him in connection to a homicide in Wisconsin.

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