Chief: Officers who shot suspect feared for lives

Published 9:39am Friday, August 29, 2014

ST. PAUL — A man shot to death by St. Paul police Thursday was smashing car windows with a pipe and threatened officers with a rock, authorities said.

The man set off frantic 911 calls with his aggressive behavior before the shooting happened about 6:30 a.m. on the city’s west side near a gas station, police said. One 911 caller said the man was “gonna hurt somebody,” according to a transcript released by police.

St. Paul Police Chief Thomas Smith said the two officers who confronted the suspect feared for their lives. Smith said the man ignored orders to stop and closed on the officers with a rock bigger than a baseball.

“You don’t always have to have a firearm or a knife to hurt somebody,” Smith told reporters.

Neither officer was hurt. The names of the officers, who are on standard administrative leave, were not released.

Police are working to identify the suspect.

Smith said the officers responded to 911 calls about a man violently smashing windows. He at one point attacked a school bus, the chief said. Smith didn’t know if children were present.

Witnesses said they saw a man struggling with officers before police shot him.