A Minneapolis man pleaded not guilty Thursday to shooting his sister's boyfriend in the head at a funeral on the Fond du Lac Reservation last fall.
Shelby Gene Boswell, 28, was arraigned in U.S. District Court in Duluth on three felony firearm charges related to the Oct. 18 assault of 45-year-old Broderick Boshay Robinson. Authorities said the shooting, which Robinson survived, occurred at the funeral for Boswell's grandmother at the Fond du Lac Head Start building.
Boswell, who has a violent criminal history, including ties to the Native Mob, stood before Magistrate Judge Leo Brisbois to formally plead not guilty to charges of possession of a firearm by a felon, possession of a firearm in a school zone and discharge of a firearm in a school zone.
A jury trial is scheduled to begin March 2 in Duluth before Chief Judge John Tunheim.
According to court documents, Boswell entered the gymnasium at Head Start building, 33 University Road in Cloquet, where the funeral was being held, and walked up behind his sister and her boyfriend. He allegedly used a rifle to shoot Robinson, who was seated, in the back of the head.
After being shot, Robinson, still conscious, turned around and saw Boswell pointing the rifle at him, according to a criminal complaint. Robinson then ran out of the gymnasium. Meanwhile, mourners managed to disarm and briefly restrain Boswell before he left the building and went to the parking lot where he was arrested by police, the complaint said.
Police said they found bags of heroin and methamphetamine on Boswell at the time of arrest. During a search at the Carlton County Jail, staff also found a bag of marijuana, according to court documents.
The shooting sent the nearby Fond du Lac Ojibwe School and tribal offices into full lockdown. Although school was not in session because of Minnesota Educator Academy break, a number of children were still in the building for programming.
Robinson was treated and released from a hospital the day of the incident. Authorities have not publicly identified a suspected motive for the shooting.
Boswell was initially charged in State District Court with multiple crimes, including assault and drug possession, but those charges were dropped after a federal grand jury returned an indictment Nov. 6, with Carlton County Attorney Lauri Ketola saying federal prosecution "provides the greatest consequences for Mr. Boswell's alleged crimes."
Boswell has been previously convicted of violent crimes, including fifth-degree assault and second-degree assault involving a baseball bat on the Fond du Lac Reservation in 2010, as well as a 2015 third-degree assault in Bemidji resulting in substantial bodily harm.
Boswell also pleaded guilty in federal court to a felony count of assault in aid of racketeering for the 2010 incident. That plea came as part of a sweeping indictment targeting two dozen alleged members of the Native Mob, a regional criminal organization known to operate primarily in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Boswell has been ordered to remain in custody as he awaits trial.