PROCTOR, Minn. (WCCO) – A 29-year-old Esko man faces charges for allegedly shooting a man on Sunday, who was later found limping on the side of Interstate 35 near Proctor.
Austin James Webster was charged with second-degree assault and being a felon in possession of a firearm. Charges were filed in St. Louis County on Friday.
The complaint says that on Sunday, police found the victim flagging down cars on I-35. He had been shot in both legs and was taken to the hospital. Deputies later found six .45 bullet casings and one unfired round near the road.
The man said that he had been with Webster and another woman earlier in the day. They were sitting in a car near Thompson Hill Road and Ormsby Road, allegedly waiting for Webster to set up a drug sale.
The man said he got tired of waiting in the car and got out. He got into a verbal fight with Webster and the other woman, and Webster was holding a large aerosol can and an object that could have been a gun. When he started to run away from Webster, he felt a sudden pain in his legs.
Officers later found the suspected vehicle near Spirit Mountain. A search of the vehicle revealed a can of bear spray and a handgun case in the trunk. The woman and Webster were later arrested.
Charges say that in a post-Miranda interview, the woman said Webster had pulled the victim out of the car and the two got into a fight. She said the victim had a gun, and when he turned away, Webster shot him twice. She also said that bear spray was sprayed, but didn’t say who sprayed it. The complaint says the woman’s story changed a few times.
She did, however, say she threw the can of bear spray into the woods and hid the firearm that Webster allegedly used to shoot the victim. She later showed law enforcement where the had hidden the gun. It was a .45 caliber handgun.
If convicted of the second-degree assault charge, Webster could face up to seven years in prison.