Charges: Woodbury Man Fired Gun at Vehicle Containing His Child During Custody Exchange

A Woodbury man who is currently on parole for an armed robbery fired shots at a vehicle containing his child during a custody exchange last week,

Tu’Quan Lee Smith, Dakota County Jail

A Woodbury man who is currently on parole for an armed robbery fired shots at a vehicle containing his child during a custody exchange last week, according to a new criminal complaint filed in Dakota County.

On Thursday, Feb. 6, just before 7 p.m., West St. Paul police received a report of a shooting that had occurred in the parking lot of a business in that city.

Police learned from the victim that she had gone to the parking lot with her new boyfriend to meet her soon-to-be ex-husband, whom she identified as Tu’Quan Lee Smith, for a child custody exchange, the complaint states.

She told police that Smith exited his vehicle and began taunting the couple. They completed the exchange of the child and then Smith flashed a gun and threatened her boyfriend. The victim and her boyfriend then left with the child in their vehicle. 

The victim then realized that her child had dropped a glove in the parking lot, so they returned to the parking lot and Smith followed them in his vehicle. Once in the parking lot, Smith pointed the handgun at the victim’s vehicle and fired two shots at the front of the vehicle. The victim then fled the parking lot to get away from the scene. She told police that she thought the bullets went over the hood of the vehicle because she didn’t find any damage when she later checked the vehicle, the complaint said.

When officers checked the parking lot, they found a child’s glove but did not find any shell casings. Officers checked nearby surveillance video and saw the child exchange and the return to the parking lot by both parties, as described by the victim, but Smith could not be seen firing the gun in the video. 

Officers checked the business across the street which would have been the direction the bullets would have travelled from where Smith was positioned in the surveillance video. They found two fresh bullet holes in the side of the metal roof of the business.

Police later located the vehicle that Smith was reported to be driving at the time of the incident. The registered owner confirmed that Smith had been driving the vehicle on that date and also described the clothing he had been wearing, which matched what police observed in the surveillance video. Police searched the vehicle and found a glove inside that matched the glove found in the parking lot.

Smith, 30, was taken into custody and has been charged in Dakota County with one felony count of second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon.

Smith is currently on parole resulting from a 2015 conviction on first-degree aggravated robbery of a gas station he committed along with three others in Lyle, Minnesota in 2013. Smith was sentenced to 78 months in prison in the case but because Minnesota statute only requires offenders to serve two-thirds of their sentence incarcerated, Smith served just 52 months and was placed on supervised release (parole). Smith also has two 2011 felony convictions in separate cases in Mower County for third-degree narcotics and failure to appear. He received stays-of-imposition on both of those felony sentences.

Smith made his first court appearance on Monday and was granted a public defender. He remains in custody in Dakota County Jail on $100,000 bail and is scheduled to make his next court appearance on Feb. 27. If convicted, the complaint states that Smith could serve up to 7 years in prison.

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