Chicago Man Arrested in Hwy 169 Shooting That Killed Jay Boughton
Plymouth police announced Thursday that a 33-year-old Chicago man is in police custody in connection to the Highway 169 shooting on July 6 that killed Jay Boughton. Jamal Smith is awaiting extradition from Illinois. He’s currently being held in the Macon County, Ill., jail and is expected to be charged with second-degree murder by the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office.
Police revealed during a press conference that Plymouth detectives worked with police in Decatur, Ill., and U.S. Marshals Service to make the arrest. Smith was booked into custody on Aug. 24.
During the press conference, Plymouth Police Chief and Public Safety Director Erik Fadden categorized the arrest as finding “a needle in a haystack.” He said detectives “never stopped digging,” acknowledging “1,500 hours of painstaking investigation work.” Fadden said the investigation is ongoing, but mentioned Smith does have a criminal history.
“It really was the hard work of our detectives that got us down to Illinois,” said Fadden.
‘It really was just a senseless act’
Boughton was driving home with his 15-year-old son from a youth baseball game at about 10 p.m. when he was shot and killed. The incident happened on southbound Hwy. 169 near Rockford Road.
The investigation was made more difficult because rain blurred traffic camera video on the night of July 6. Police eventually located an SUV that matched the description of a vehicle they had been seeking in the shooting. The shooter’s vehicle was described as a silver Chevy Suburban, model years 2015 to 2020. But over the past couple months, investigators remained optimistic they would find the person responsible.
Fadden could not say what prompted the shooting, though he previously described the incident as a brief “traffic altercation” and “nothing that led us to believe this was a back-and-forth road rage.” He has said it could be something as simple as a lane change that set off the shooter.
“It really was just a senseless act that happened in a brief moment when two vehicles were next to each other,” said Fadden.
Investigation not over
Boughton was laid to rest last month. He was 56 years old. At the funeral, family members expressed that they wanted to move past the tragic circumstances to celebrate his life.
“Let’s be clear, what happened to Jay was evil, but we’re not focused on that as a family. We wanted to focus on the light that Jay was, is, and the love for the family,” said Stephen Robinson, Boughton’s brother-in-law, during a press conference that preceded the August funeral.
The law firm of Schwebel, Goetz & Sieben announced an additional $10,000 to the Jay Boughton reward fund to help find the person or persons responsible in the shooting. Crime Stoppers of Minnesota also offered a $1,000 reward.
Fadden could not say if Smith was the only person involved. He said Thursday that the investigation is not over. Plymouth police also continue to take tips from the public.
CCX News Reporter Delane Cleveland contributed to this report.