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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Wisconsin

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, June 5, 2020

MILWAUKEE MAN CHARGED WITH FEDERAL OFFENSES FOR THROWING MOLOTOV COCKTAIL INTO BOOST MOBILE STORE

Matthew D. Krueger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, announced that on June 4, 2020, his office filed a federal criminal complaint against Tyshaun T. Smith (age: 26) of Milwaukee.  The complaint charges Smith with attempted arson of a Boost Mobile store at 949 North 27th Street in Milwaukee, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 844(i), and possession of destructive device, namely a Molotov cocktail, in violation of Title 26, United States Code, Sections 5861(c), 5845(a), and 5845(f).

If convicted of the attempted arson, Smith would face a mandatory minimum of five years and a maximum of 20 years in prison.  If convicted of possession of the destructive device, he would face up to ten years in prison.  He also would face a fine of up to $250,000 for each count of conviction.

According to the criminal complaint, on May 31, 2020, at approximately 11:03 p.m., Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) officers responded to a 911 call regarding an entry into the Boost Mobile store.  When officers arrived, Tyshaun Smith and two other individuals were standing outside of the store next to a broken window.  Smith was holding what appeared to be a burning Molotov cocktail.  An officer observed Smith throw the Molotov cocktail into the store.  Smith and the others then ran from the scene.  However, Smith fell and was arrested.  When arrested, Smith’s sweatshirt and gloves were coated in gasoline, and he was in possession of a loaded 9 mm firearm.  Police were able to extinguish the burning Molotov cocktail in the store and recover the device. 

“As alleged in the complaint, Smith engaged in senseless violence, attempting to destroy an innocent business that serves Milwaukee residents,” said U.S. Attorney Krueger.  “I commend the excellent work of the Milwaukee Police Department to prevent more damage to the store.  The Justice Department, including the ATF and my office, is committed to working with state and local authorities to ensure public safety in Milwaukee.” 

“ATF will continue to work in partnership with the Milwaukee Police Department to protect the community and property from these violent acts,” remarked Special Agent in Charge Kristen deTineo of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives of the Chicago Field Division. “We appreciate the United States Attorney’s Office for their diligence in charging this case.”

Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales remarked “The Milwaukee Police Department continues to support the individuals that are exercising their right to peacefully protest.  MPD is thankful of our Federal partners that are assisting in prosecuting the subjects that are participating in criminal behavior during these difficult times”.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Milwaukee Police Department investigated the case, which will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Philip Kovoor.

A criminal complaint is merely a formal method of charging an individual and does not constitute inference of his or her guilt. An individual is presumed innocent until such time, if ever, that the government establishes his or her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. 

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Updated June 5, 2020