Duluth man charged after injuring Speedway employee during fight turned shooting

Joseph Butler
Joseph Butler(KBJR 6/CBS 3)
Published: Sep. 20, 2022 at 1:29 PM CDT
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DULUTH, MN -- A Duluth man has been charged after hurting a Speedway gas station employee during an argument that led to a shooting inside the store.

Joseph Francis Butler, 31, is facing three felonies, including: being a felon possessing a firearm, second degree assault, and reckless discharge of a firearm.

The incident happened around 5:37 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 11 at the Speedway on 4th St. and 6th Ave. in the East Hillside neighborhood.

According to court documents, Butler came in to the store with a $100 dollar bill and asked for $40 worth of gas to be put on Pump 3. He then asked for two packs of cigarettes to be added on to his transaction.

At the same time, a woman approached the register asking to pay for items using an EBT card.

The cashier was a newer employee, still learning how to navigate the register, and became flustered by the requests.

Court documents show Butler also started getting upset and impatient.

The confusion continued to escalate when the cashier gave Butler his $100 back.

Butler, who was now holding the $100 bill, said he still wanted the $40 worth of gas.

So, the cashier grabbed the $100 bill out of Butler’s hand and started continuing the transaction.

According to court documents, Butler then told the cashier “you just snatched that out of my [expletive] hand.” He then allegedly came around the counter to confront the cashier.

The cashier told Butler he couldn’t be behind the counter.

Butler allegedly got in the cashier’s face and eventually punched him.

Police say this turned in to a fight, with the employee defending himself.

At some point, the employee got Butler into a hold and tried dragging him out of the store.

That’s when a a gun fell out of Butler’s waistband.

Butler allegedly started firing off four or five shots.

The employee told police he could “feel the barrel of the gun on him and felt the shots going off.”

While the victim did not have any direct bullet wounds, he did have a graze wound on one of his arms along with gun powder blast injury on his right side near his ribs. He also had a bloody lip from being punched in the face.

Butler drove off and was located with a shoplifting suspect on September 15 in Bloomington, Minnesota.

Police arrested the shoplifting suspect, but Butler ran off again.

The shoplifting suspect, who was also at the Speedway on the day of the incident, told police that Butler was the man involved in the Sept. 11 shooting in Duluth.

Police worked with the shoplifting suspect to encourage Butler to turn himself in.

Butler has previous felony convictions in Illinois, including for felony robbery and aggravated battery.

He’s being held at the St. Louis County Jail.

His next court date has not been set.