Relatives identify man killed in St. Paul officer-involved shooting

Family members identified the man who was fatally shot by St. Paul police over the weekend as 45-year-old William “Billy” James Hughes, a White Earth Native man.

Hughes’ relatives and members of Natives Lives Matter gathered outside of the Minneapolis American Indian Center Monday evening to hold a vigil and rally in his memory, after he was shot by two police officers early Sunday morning at an apartment complex on the 900 block of St. Anthony Avenue.

“When is it going to stop?” said Kathy Ficken, Hughes’ aunt. “It has to stop you know. They’re ruining everybody’s life. My family’s. Everybody’s.”

Police and the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension have yet to confirm the man’s identity, but maintain the shooting involved two officers who encountered a man with a gun.

“We really don’t know what happened in this incident – that’s the problem,” said John Gordon of the ACLU of Minnesota.

Gordon says there is a need for transparency.

“We’d like to see the body camera footage as soon as it can be made available without interfering with the police investigation of what happened,” said Gordon.

“I hope they do it right away,” said Ficken.

While it’s unclear how long Hughes lived at the apartment home, St. Paul police tell Fox 9 they were called there 58 times over the course of the last four years for a variety of disturbances including disorderly conduct, fights, assaults and theft. 

Meanwhile, Hughes’ relatives say this isn’t the first time their family has lost a loved one in an officer-involved shooting.

“I said not again, because my other nephew, Phil Quinn, they killed him, too, a couple years ago you know?” said Ficken.

In 2016, a grand jury decided not to charge the officers in Quinn’s case after they learned he ran at police with a screwdriver.

Mayor Melvin Carter Monday did meet with St. Paul police chief Todd Axtell to discuss an expedited release of the body camera footage in Hughes’ case. More information is expected Tuesday.