A 17-year-old boy has been charged along with his mother in connection with the fatal shooting at a Bloomington hotel earlier this month.
Dequan Smith, of St. Paul, was charged in Hennepin County Wednesday by juvenile petition with second-degree murder and prohibited person with a firearm.
On July 12, a housekeeper found 39-year-old Jennifer Swaggert dead in a room at LaQuinta Hotel, from an apparent gunshot wound in her face, according to court documents. Bloomington police said they arrested three teenagers and an adult, including Smith and his mother, Trimeanna Williams.
Hennepin County Attorney’s Office prosecutors have filed a motion to have the teenager certified as an adult. He has previously been convicted in North Dakota of a felony drug crime and was prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition, according to the county.
Earlier this week, Williams was charged with aiding her son after the alleged murder and possessing a firearm illegally. Prior convictions prevented her from legally possessing a gun.
According to the juvenile petition:
The day after the shooting, Williams called the hotel and asked to retrieve belongings she had left in the room Swaggert had died, which had been rented from July 9-12. When hotel management contacted police, Williams told officers she stayed with her three children July 11-12. The room had been paid for by another adult for Williams, who is homeless, police said.
Numerous alcoholic beverages were found in the room. Williams told authorities she and others used methamphetamine, ecstasy and alcohol while in the hotel.
The day of the shooting, Williams told investigators, she was in the room with Swaggert, who she called her best friend. Three friends of the son facing charges were also there.
Her 12-year-old son told police that he had seen his mother with a small, tan and black handgun earlier that day. At some point, he said, she took the gun outside and shot it in the air. Police later found a small spent caliber cartridge in the hotel parking lot.
The child told police that his 17-year-old brother, Smith, had been arguing with Swaggert, and “tried to fight” her before his mother intervened, the petition says.
One of the teenager’s friends there said the boy had been asking Swaggert for money to pay for a storage unit for Williams, and started to “get into the Victim’s face,” the petition says. Officers later confirmed Williams had owed a few hundred dollars in late rent on a storage locker, and that Swaggert had visited that storage facility earlier in the day and spoke with a manager about paying William’s bill, but decided not to pay and left.
While everyone was sitting down, his brother pointed the gun at Swaggert for 15-30 seconds, the child said. Swaggert asked, “Are you going to let him shoot me?”
Williams told the 17-year-old not to shoot. As the child looked away, he heard a “boom” and Swaggert fell to the floor.
Williams told police she was “shocked and scared.”
She told everyone they had to leave, and the group eventually ended up at Powderhorn Park, one of the teenage witnesses told police. There, the 17-year-old shot the gun into the air twice before eventually he and one of his friends threw the gun into Powderhorn Lake.
A Lyft driver later confirmed to police they had given the group a ride to south Minneapolis.
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