Neighbor brings assault rifle to confrontation

Posted 1/25/22

RIVER FALLS – A neighbor complaint about loud music turned into a nasty confrontation when one allegedly threatened the other with an assault rifle at a River Falls apartment complex on Sunday, …

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Neighbor brings assault rifle to confrontation


RIVER FALLS – A neighbor complaint about loud music turned into a nasty confrontation when one allegedly threatened the other with an assault rifle at a River Falls apartment complex on Sunday, Jan. 16.

Joshua Tyler Smith-Larson, 26, Cottage Grove, Minn., pleaded not guilty and posted a $5,000 signature bond Jan. 18 on criminal damage to property and disorderly conduct (use of a dangerous weapon) charges. He also pleaded not guilty to and posted a $10,000 signature bond on resisting or obstructing an officer, disorderly conduct (use of a dangerous weapon) and two misdemeanor bail jumping charges Jan. 18. If convicted, he faces up to nine months in jail and/or up to $10,000 in fines.

According to the complaints (for two separate cases): At 11:46 a.m. Sept. 15, 2021, a complainant called in a fight taking place on the street between two men at 407 S. Wasson Lane. Witnesses reported they saw Smith-Larson pull up to a Chevrolet Impala that was parked on the street; the male victim was sitting in the Impala’s front passenger seat and a 5-year-old child was in the back. They were waiting for the child’s mother to return from an appointment. Smith-Larson allegedly exited his truck and began yelling at the man in the Impala, who said he exited the vehicle to avoid a confrontation in front of the child in the car.

When the victim exited the vehicle, Smith-Larson allegedly slammed the door on his leg and began hitting him. Witnesses said the victim was non-aggressive. Smith-Larson then turned and walked back to his vehicle, where he grabbed a screwdriver and threatened the victim. He then slashed the front driver’s side tire of the vehicle. He fled and the child’s mother returned to the car. She told police Smith-Larson was upset because she was driving Smith-Larson’s grandmother’s car (with his consent). Police attempted contact with Smith-Larson, who had left the scene. The victim declined pressing charges, but had a small cut and torn shirt.

A separate incident began at 8:56 p.m. Jan. 16 when police were called to an apartment complex at 513 S. Wasson Lane where a man was reportedly threatening people with an assault-style rifle. Three people had barricaded themselves inside an apartment while Smith-Larson allegedly threatened them outside their door after they complained about his loud music via Facebook Messenger.

When police arrived, they saw Smith-Larson standing in front of a red Ford truck in front of 513 S. Wasson Lane. An officer trained his duty weapon on him until he could be handcuffed.

According to Smith-Larson, he was playing video games in an apartment where his daughter and her mother reside. Someone sent him a message on Facebook, someone who “has ties” with his neighbors, who he believes vandalized his vehicles. The message said “Keep your music down you crackhead.” He went to the neighbor’s door and knocked on it, where he said a man answered the door completely naked. He had words with the neighbor, then said he walked away because the other man was naked. He denied having a gun with him during the confrontation; he denied owning any guns except a paint ball gun.

The complainants’ story differed significantly. They said Smith-Larson was playing music loudly in his apartment, so one of them messaged him to turn it down and called him a crackhead. Smith-Larson came to their door and began screaming and yelling through it at the neighbors. They refused to open the door, and Smith-Larson eventually left for a few minutes. When he returned, he had an assault rifle with him, which he allegedly racked (pulled the charging handle) several times, threatening to turn them into “Swiss cheese.”

Officers soon found an AR- 10 style rifle in plain view in Smith-Larson’s Chevrolet Suburban, which was parked onsite. It appeared the gun had been thrown in the vehicle hastily. Tracks in the snow led to the second-row seating area on the passenger side.

When officers informed Smith-Larson he was under arrest, he became uncooperative and resistive. Once police got him inside the squad, he began kicking the door and threatening to spit on the officers’ grandmothers when he “gets out.” He then slammed his head on the cage several times. He eventually calmed and agreed to cooperate, at which point he was transported to Pierce County Jail without issues. Both Smith-Larson’s Ford truck and the Chevrolet Suburban were towed and impounded.

He next appears in Pierce County Circuit Court for a pretrial conference at 10:30 a.m. Feb. 10.

Joshua Tyler Smith-Larson