William Travis Katzenberger

William Travis Katzenberger

A 32-year-old man is in custody after he allegedly fired shots into a co-worker’s vacant car in Savage, authorities say.

William Travis Katzenberger, who police say has no permanent address, is charged with one felony dangerous weapons charge — drive by shooting — in Scott County District Court.

According to the criminal complaint, the car’s owner told officers Katzenberger had made racist comments toward him in the past. Savage Police Capt. Bruce Simon said an investigation surrounding criminal damage to property motivated by bias is ongoing.

A bias crime report will also be filed with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Simon said.

Police departments are required to file such a report if “the officer has reason to believe, or if the victim alleges, that the offender was motivated to commit the act by the victim’s race, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, or characteristics identified as sexual orientation,” according to Minnesota State Statute 626.553.

The shooting occurred shortly after 2 a.m. on Aug. 25 outside of Liberty Tire Recycling in the 12400 block of Wyoming Avenue, according to incident data provided by Savage police.

The victim told officers he’d been working when he heard the gunshots, charges state. He went outside, saw his car had been shot and witnessed Katzenberger’s car driving away from the parking lot.

Surveillance footage shows Katzenberger pull up next to the victim’s car, step out and shoot the car twice, according to the criminal complaint.

Shakopee Police Chief Jeff Tate said Shakopee officers later arrested Katzenberger after locating him sleeping inside his vehicle in the Walmart parking lot.

Katzenberger had the gun between his legs and his hands were on the gun when officers approached, Tate said, but he was responsive to commands and taken into custody without incident.

After officers gave the Miranda warning, Katzenberger admitted to shooting the vehicle with his shotgun, charges state.

An omnibus hearing is scheduled to be held Sept. 22.

If convicted, the drive by shooting charge carries a sentence of up to three years in prison and a $6,000 fine.

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