No charges against Plymouth police officer in fatal shooting

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office declined to charge Plymouth Police Officer Amy Therkelsen in the shooting death of Derek Wolfsteller inside an Arby’s restaurant, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Wednesday.

The death occurred July 23, 2015 at the Arby’s at 10205 Sixth Ave. S., in Plymouth. Officer Therkelsen and three restaurant employees had wrestled with Wolfsteller. Therkelsen twice used her Taser against Wolfsteller with little effect, although the last time they wound up on the floor and during the struggle, Wolfsteller tried to take her gun.

“This is a tragic case and our deepest sympathies go out to Mr. Wolfsteller’s family,” Freeman said. “However, Officer Therkelsen attempted to use non-deadly force against a man having a psychotic episode and it did not slow him. She and three civilians were in a long, exhausting struggle with him and he had both hands on her gun. When she was able to regain control of her gun it was reasonable for her to conclude that she must shoot Mr. Wolfsteller in order to protect herself, the three employees and others in the restaurant. So no criminal charges are warranted against the officer.”

Lab tests confirmed Officer Therkelsen’s story that Wolfsteller was struggling to get the gun as his DNA was on the gun holster and belt. The squad car video of one of the officers rushing to the scene also recorded Therkelsen’s radio report mentioning “my gun.”

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Report of the Hennepin County Attorney's Office regarding the shooting death of Derek Wolfsteller on July 23, 2015