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Man charged with shotgun slaying on Red Lake Indian Reservation

RED LAKE, Minn. - Michael Wayne Whitefeather did not know who he was attacking when he shot Anthony Allen Wells, according to a federal criminal complaint charging Whitefeather with second-degree murder.

Whitefeather, 18, who has been in custody since Wednesday, is accused of killing Wells with a shotgun in the early hours of Saturday, April 28, on the Red Lake Indian Reservation in northern Minnesota.

According to a criminal complaint from the U.S. attorney's office in Minneapolis:

Whitefeather was riding in a light-colored Chevrolet Impala with multiple other people - who have not been charged in the killing - at about 1 a.m. April 28, when he and the others saw two people walking in the reservation's Bartons Camp area.

Some of the people who had been riding in the Impala got out and chased the two people, who ran away toward Pill Hill. The group drove toward Pill Hill, at which point one of the passengers took something out of the Impala's trunk. The Impala's driver - identified in the complaint as "Witness 4" - then went home and went to bed.

Another witness, who was with Wells shortly before he was killed, said that the pair had been walking in the Bartons neighborhood when they saw a white Chevrolet Impala drive slowly past them, turn around, and approach them again.

Six people got out of the car, the witness told police. He and Wells ran away, and the witness hid in a garage, not knowing where Wells went.

From his hiding spot, the witness heard people banging on a car, then saw Wells run toward Pike Creek with a few people chasing him.

The witness told police that he heard three gunshots fired from near where he was hiding. The first two shots were a few seconds apart, he said, and the third was fired about 15 seconds later. After waiting "some time," he walked home and later learned that Wells was found dead.

The Impala's driver told police he was awakened at about 1:30 a.m. by Whitefeather and two other people. Whitefeather gave him a cellphone that was later found to be Wells', then told the driver that he had shot the victim.

After police found Wells' body later on April 28, they discovered that multiple people from the Pill Hill area called 911 at approximately 1:10 a.m. to report gunshots. A witness told police that she had had seen a gray Impala outside of her house; another witness told police the car had a Red Lake personalized license plate. The car was registered to a person who lived in the same house as "Witness 4."

After interviewing the witnesses, investigators started looking for Whitefeather on the reservation on April 30. They learned that he was staying with his uncle in Bemidji, and found that Whitefeather and another person had been moving around at night by traveling on side streets and through wooded areas.

On Wednesday, an agent with the Headwaters Safe Trails Task Force followed Whitefeather and the other person and found them under a fallen pine tree. Whitefeather was arrested for a Beltrami County warrant.

During an interview with investigators, Whitefeather admitted to shooting Wells in the head, and said he had taken the shotgun and the shells from two different cars about a month ago.

Whitefeather thought that Wells and the person he was with were part of a group that had recently jumped him, and that members of the group had recently shot his brother. Later on, however, Whitefeather said he did not know who he shot at the time, and only found out it was Wells the next day through social media.

Whitefeather is no longer listed as an inmate in the Beltrami County Jail. No further information about the case was immediately available.


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