Search warrants detail new information on fatal shooting by St. Paul police

The house where St. Paul Police officers fatally shot Billy Hughes.
The house at 905 St. Anthony Blvd. in St. Paul where St. Paul Police officers fatally shot Billy Hughes in the early hours of Sunday, Aug. 5, 2018.
Peter Cox | MPR News

Agents with the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension have filed search warrants about what happened before the fatal shooting of William "Billy" Hughes, 43, by St. Paul police officers earlier this month. The warrants include information not made public previously.

A 911 caller reported gunshots being fired in the early morning of Aug. 5, according to the BCA. Officers responding to the call knocked on a door inside the building while Hughes exited from another door. The officers shot Hughes, who died at the scene. The BCA said agents recovered a gun.

A search warrant filed Tuesday for phone records outlined the experience of the person who called 911. The caller told investigators that they fled the apartment after Hughes became hostile, fired a gun into a bedroom wall and pointed the gun at the caller's head. The unidentified caller left the apartment and phoned police.

A filing for phone records says that some of Hughes' relatives interviewed the day after the shooting told investigators that Hughes had texted them threatening suicide about four months before. The filing by a BCA agent argued that phone records would help investigators piece together what led up to the shooting.

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"[I]t is probable that there will be information on the decedent's cell phones leading up to the incident that will help to establish decedent's mindset and activities prior to the critical incident," according to the filing.

The search warrants filed Tuesday also cover evidence at the apartment like clothing, weapons and writings that "may indicate motive." Investigators also filed a warrant asking to search the home next door for "bullet fragments and bullet casings."

St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter said last week he wants to release body camera footage from the officers as soon as the BCA finishes talking to witnesses and Hughes' family has had the opportunity to watch the video. At that time, Chief Todd Axtell said he expected the videos to be released by sometime this week.

The BCA will turn the completed investigation over to the Ramsey County Attorney's Office, which will make a decision about whether to file charges.