A man accused in July of ramming the door of a Bismarck gun store now faces charges for allegedly shooting electrical equipment that caused an outage affecting more than 1,000 Mandan households.
Tjaden Smith, 22, of Bismarck, on June 27 allegedly fired two shots from a rifle that struck an electrical substation south of Mandan, according to a Morton County Sheriff’s Office affidavit. One shot caused an explosion and fire and left 1,003 households without power. The damage and repair costs to the substation are estimated at $95,000, authorities said.
Officials say Smith was seen on home security video approaching and leaving the substation. A large cloud of smoke was coming from the substation when he left, according to the affidavit.
Spent ammunition cases found at the scene matched a rifle and other cases found in the pickup truck Smith was driving when he was apprehended June 28, authorities allege. Bismarck police arrested Smith on suspicion of ramming the storefront of Double H Guns early that morning and stealing guns and ammunition. All the firearms were recovered. The rifle allegedly used at the substation had been reported stolen by another person.
Smith is charged in Morton County with felony criminal mischief, endangering by fire or explosion, tampering with a public service, reckless endangerment and felon in possession of a firearm. The criminal mischief charge carries a possible 10-year prison term upon conviction. No attorney is listed for Smith in the Morton County case.
Reach Travis Svihovec at 701-250-8260 or Travis.Svihovec@bismarcktribune.com