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No charges to be filed against officers in Shady Oaks standoff

Charges will not be filed against any of the officers who responded to the eight-hour standoff at Shady Oaks last November, including the Minnesota State Patrol trooper who discharged his firearm, the Freeborn County Attorney’s Office announced Thursday.

The conclusion came after the completion of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigation into the use of force by law enforcement during the incident. The investigation was reviewed by Freeborn County Attorney David Walker to determine whether criminal charges should be filed.

Walker concluded evidence did not support charges, including against Minnesota State Trooper Steven Quern, who discharged his firearm and injured shooting suspect, Devin Matthew Weiland, near the end of the standoff.

Devin Weiland

“Based on the information available to Trooper Quern at the time he fired the round at Weiland, a reasonable officer in Trooper Quern’s position would have concluded that deadly force was necessary to protect the officer or another person from apparent death or great bodily harm,” the County Attorney’s Office stated.

Albert Lea police were dispatched to the Shady Oaks apartment building early in the morning of Nov. 29, 2020, for a report of fireworks or gunshots in the area. When the first officer arrived, Weiland then allegedly began firing shots out the window from his apartment on the third floor, striking that officer in the chest with a rifle. 

Weiland also reportedly shot two others during the standoff, and reportedly fired an estimated 90 rounds, earlier reports stated.

The County Attorney’s Office stated Quern was one of several law enforcement personnel to respond to the standoff and was a Minnesota State Patrol Special Response Team sniper. He was positioned about 72 yards from the apartment building. 

After Weiland had refused to surrender and continued to fire at people for several hours, law enforcement decided that a chemical would be used in an attempt to stop him from shooting and to persuade him to surrender.

The County Attorney’s Office stated when the gas was deployed, Weiland reportedly began firing at the SWAT truck that deployed the gas and struck it multiple times. He also had reportedly fired at Quern’s sniper team and two other teams.

“The trooper saw the barrel of the suspect’s gun sticking out the window, saw the stock of the gun and the suspect’s hand,” the attorney’s office stated. “The trooper believed that the suspect was going to fire at other sniper teams.”

Quern estimated where Weiland’s head was and fired one shot at the same time Weiland reportedly fired another shot out of his window.

A short time later, Weiland appeared again at the window with a towel wrapped around his head and soon after surrendered.

Reports state his injury was not life-threatening.

Weiland faces three counts of attempted murder and three counts of second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon tied to the incident. 

He is next slated to appear in court July 28.