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Willmar man shot by police is charged

WILLMAR — A suicidal man who allegedly pointed his handgun at two Willmar police officers last summer — and was subsequently shot and wounded by the officers — was charged Tuesday with three felonies.

Matthew David Smith, 45, of Willmar, was charged with two counts of second-degree assault - fear, and one count of threats of violence.

Following a court appearance where Smith arrived in a wheelchair, Judge Michael Thompson released Smith on his personal recognizance.

The charges stem from a July 23 incident in Smith's backyard when police were dispatched to the home in northwest Willmar on the report that an intoxicated man was acting suicidal.

At around 5:22 p.m. the two officers approached Smith as he sat his a lawn chair in his backyard.

According to the complaint, Smith pointed a gun at Officer Marco Vazquez and Officer Anthony Haycraft and both officers feared for their lives.

At 5:26:03 Haycraft started speaking with Smith saying, "Excuse me sir."

At 5:26:06 Haycraft ordered Smith to "drop the gun."

The order was repeated three more times before the first shot was fired at 5:26:10.

According to the complaint, Vazquez fired two shots from his service revolver and Haycraft fired one shot.

Smith was struck in the upper part of his leg.

The officers administered first aid, including applying a tourniquet, before emergency medical crews arrived.

According to the complaint, Smith had a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.279 percent, more than three times the 0.08 threshold for drunken driving.

His next court appearance is April 18.

Read Wednesday's West Central Tribune for additional details.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for 35 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

(320) 894-9750