New Hope officers injured in shooting sue Princeton gun dealer

Published 9:44 am Thursday, March 9, 2017

NEW HOPE — Two police officers are suing the owner of a Minnesota gun store, alleging the shop sold a gun through a third party to a man who shot at them at New Hope City Hall.

Officers Joshua Eernisse and Beau Schoenhard were injured on Jan. 26, 2015, when Ray Kmetz fired a shotgun into a group of officers outside the City Hall chambers,.

Attorneys for the officers allege the owner of Full Metal Gun Shop in Princeton, Troy Buchholz, knew Kmetz was the ultimate buyer because his name was on the order. The attorneys said Buchholz could’ve determined through a background check that Kmetz was purchasing the guns illegally.

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Buchholz didn’t return MPR’s call seeking comment.

The shootings happened when more than a dozen police officers and their family members were gathered at City Hall for a swearing-in ceremony for some of the officers. More than 50 pellets struck Eernisse, and 35 of them remain embedded in his shoulder.

Schoenhard was struck in the wrist with a bullet from another officer’s gun as he struggled with Kmetz, who was fatally shot by police.

“I didn’t think. I didn’t have to think. And I went after him and the gun,” Schoenhard said.

Kmetz was involuntarily committed to the Minnesota Security Hospital in 2009 after being arrested for the alleged assault of a police officer. That commitment made Kmetz ineligible to own a firearm, according to attorney Chris Messerly, who is representing the officers pro bono along with the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.