Man charged in shooting outside Geneva bar

Published 11:57 am Friday, May 5, 2023

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Fight reportedly started over music on the jukebox

A New Richland man is facing charges for allegedly shooting a gun into the air and then shooting at a vehicle last month outside Geneva Bar.

Dustin Grey Smitty, 22, turned himself in on a warrant in the case on Thursday at the Law Enforcement Center in Albert Lea.

He appeared in Freeborn County District Court in front of Judge Ross Leuning Friday on two counts of second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon — one each for the two people who were in the vehicle that was shot at — along with one count of ineligible possession of a firearm and one count of reckless discharge of a firearm.

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Court documents state when authorities were called to the bar April 22 in response to the shooting, they spoke to multiple individuals at the scene, and Smitty was identified as the shooter. They compared the Department of Vehicle Services photo of him with the videos they obtained from the scene.

One of the people who was in the vehicle that was shot at stated the fight started inside the bar when she played a different song on the jukebox. Smitty’s girlfriend went over and unplugged the jukebox.

The woman stated they were finishing up their drinks and were going to leave anyways and then told Smitty’s girlfriend that she had paid money to listen to the song. She said the girlfriend then tried to start an altercation and at one point threw a drink at her face.

One of their friends was thrown to the ground and about four other people were hitting and kicking him, the victim stated. Another person they were playing pool with was also sought after by the crowd.

She said when everyone was outside there was another altercation taking place and two to three shots were fired in the air in the parking lot.

She and another individual decided to leave and when in their vehicle at the nearby intersection, they saw Smitty — who allegedly fired the shots into the air — cross the street in front of them.

The other individual in the car, who was driving, slowed down as Smitty reached the other side of the street. She said they kept driving northbound, and she looked back and reportedly watched Smitty pull out a gun and fire four times at them.

At least three rounds struck the truck, including one which flattened the right rear tire. There were also marks on the passenger side of the door.

Authorities found four 9 mm Luger Hornady shell casings in the grass at the northeast corner of the intersection of Central Avenue and First Street Northeast, where Smitty reportedly was firing from. The same casings were found in the bar parking lot.

Three videos from the bar showed the fight involving multiple people, including Smitty, inside the bar before the fight moved outside. Once outside, the video at one point shows Smitty allegedly going to a nearby vehicle, opening the door and then reaching in to pull out a firearm. He then reportedly fired two shots in the air while standing 15 to 20 feet away from the people fighting.

Assistant Freeborn County Attorney Abigail Lambert said in court Friday a Sheriff’s Office detective spoke with a probation officer in Waseca County where Smitty is presently on probation, and he has reportedly not been checking in or returning phone calls.

She said he had a warrant for failing to appear in court on another case, and his family reportedly stated he was planning to flee to Texas. He turned himself into authorities because of pressure from the family.

Lambert described him as an “extreme concern for public safety” and asked for Leuning to set unconditional bail at $500,000 with conditional bail at $250,000.

Smitty, when given the opportunity to say what he thought bail should be set at, said he is in regular contact with his probation officer and said he was innocent and wanted to get home to his children. He said he turned himself in to try and take care of the situation.

Leuning ultimately set unconditional bail at $500,000 with conditional bail at $250,000. Conditions included remaining law abiding, not using alcohol or mood-altering chemicals, not leaving the state without prior court approval, signing a waiver of extradition, wearing a GPS device and having no contact with the victims, among others.

Court documents stated Smitty had a previous qualifying juvenile delinquency adjudication that makes him ineligible to possess a firearm.