MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Thirty-three-year-old Jamal Smith, of Chicago, has been formally charged in the fatal Highway 169 shooting that killed a youth baseball coach earlier this summer.
Plymouth Public Safety Director and Police Chief Erik Fadden announced that on Aug. 24, officials arrested Smith in Decatur, Illinois. He is now charged with second-degree murder and aiding an offender as an accomplice after the fact.
Fadden said police had spent more than 1,500 hours on the case, with his office receiving more than 400 tips from the public. The investigation is still open and active.
“This has been an all-hands approach,” Fadden said. “This was truly a needle in a haystack.”
The criminal complaint says that one thing that helped investigators close in on Smith as their suspect was a Facebook Live broadcast that showed Smith wearing similar clothes and carrying a similar handbag to one shown on surveillance video, posted shortly after the shooting. The Facebook Live broadcast also showed Smith brandishing a semi-automatic handgun, from which authorities were able to determine a serial number.
Police say they’re working to determine what role, if any, two other people in the Facebook Live played in the shooting.
Another witness told police that she suspected Smith was involved in the crime after seeing news reports of Boughton’s death. She said she asked him about it, and he responded that “the police don’t have any evidence.”
The criminal complaint says that the vehicle involved in the incident was reported stolen from a rental car company.
Jay Boughton, 56, was driving home on July 6 with his son after coaching a youth baseball game when he got into an altercation with another driver on Highway 169. The driver shot him in the head, and Boughton lost control of his car, crashing into several other vehicles in a nearby apartment complex parking lot.
His 15-year-old son — who was in the car with him — performed CPR on him until paramedics arrived at the scene. He was taken to North Memorial Health, where he died.
RELATED: Beloved Coach Jay Boughton Laid To Rest, With His Killer Still At Large (Aug. 6)
In the days following the incident, the police chief called the shooting “one of the most tragic events” he’s witnessed in his 20 years of policing.
“It was a really, truly a senseless act that resulted in the loss of a human life,” Fadden said.
On Aug. 11, Plymouth police announced they recovered an SUV matching a description of the suspect vehicle, and were processing the vehicle to gather possible evidence. Finding the car was key, Fadden said, in identifying the suspect.
Fadden said that the family had been notified the day the arrest was made. He said they were grateful and feel a sense of relief.
“It’s been a tough and tiring and exhausting eight weeks, so it was nice to be able to have a good phone conversation with a family that has had nothing but bad news over the last eight weeks,” said Fadden. “This doesn’t do anything to bring Jay back, clearly, but I think it does help the family understand that they’re not going to be wondering forever what happened or who was responsible for this.”
Boughton was on his way home from coaching a 15U-AAA team game when he was killed. He was laid to rest in early August, with hundreds in attendance. He is survived by his wife, 15-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter.
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