A Northfield man is facing three weapons-related charges after allegedly shooting at another person he claims stole marijuana from him.
Zachary Ryan Schultz, 18, was charged Tuesday in Steele County Court with drive by shooting, second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon and reckless discharge of a firearm within city limits, all felonies. The charges stem from a July 18 incident in Dartts Park in Owatonna in which visitors to the park heard two gunshots during an Owatonna Aces game.
According to the criminal complaint, the Owatonna Police Department were called about possible gunshots in the park around 5:30 p.m. July 18. Several witnesses said they saw two vehicles meet in the park’s south parking lot and later speed away down Cherry Street. One witness told officers that one driver — a young male — allegedly shouted that he dropped his gun and then saw him pick up a firearm from the ground.
During a search of the park, officers located two shell casings in the south parking lot: a silver 0.22 caliber casing and a gold 0.223 casing.
Police were able to review video footage from the park and retrieve the license plate numbers from both vehicles they believed were involved in the incident. The owner of one vehicle was registered to an Owatonna address, while the owner of the other vehicle was listed as Schultz, according to court records.
Officers contacted the Owatonna driver who told police the incident was a “robbery gone wrong.” According to the report, the individual said they went to the park with a 17-year-old to purchase marijuana from a man identified as Schultz. At the park, they said the “marijuana they were trying to sell was junk,” and that as they were leaving they saw Schultz allegedly lift a handgun up to the window.
Both the driver and their passenger reportedly told police they were unaware that they had been shot at.
Northfield police located Schultz’s vehicle two days after the alleged shooting and had it towed to Owatonna where a search revealed a 0.22 round believed to be a misfire, six 9 mm casings, and one 0.22 casing inside the vehicle, according to court documents.
During a July 23 interview with Owatonna Police investigators, Schultz allegedly admitted to coming to Owatonna for a potential marijuana deal and firing a 0.22 pistol as another vehicle fleeing the park. Schultz said the occupants of the other vehicle stole a bag of marijuana from him and that he allegedly shot at them with his eyes closed, making him uncertain as to where he was aiming.
According to the report, Schultz provided police information on the location of the firearm, which he claimed to have bleached and wrapped it in plastic before hiding it in the rafters of a Northfield garage.
Northfield police reportedly located the firearm where Schultz said it could be found. The report said the firearm was “slippery/tacky with a bleach-like substance” and wrapped in plastic along with the magazine.
Schultz is currently in custody at the Steele County Detention Center and bail without conditions has been set at $100,000. His next court appearance is scheduled for Aug. 10.