No charges against Crystal Police Officers in non-fatal shooting in a park


None of the four Crystal Police officers will be charged in the shooting of a teenager carrying a gun back in May, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Wednesday.

Khaleel Thompson was 18 when he was shot shortly after 9 a.m. on May 24 in Bassett Creek Park. Thompson was shot once in the head and once in the right side with the bullet lodging in his back. He survived the shooting and was released from the hospital July 5.

“This was a justified use of deadly force by the officers,” Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said. “The officers not only pleaded with Mr. Thompson to drop his weapon, but used a non-lethal bean bag rifle first, in an effort to get him to drop the gun. All those measures failed and ultimately the officers feared for their lives and fired numerous shots. We are grateful that Mr. Thompson did not die and is fully recovering from his wounds.”

According to the investigation conducted by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Thompson had a history of depression and paranoid schizophrenia. In October 2015, St. Louis Park police were called because Thompson was in the street with an axe and told the officers that people were going to die. The officers convinced him to drop the axe and they rushed him to the hospital. They later learned that Thompson made the 911 call and hoped to commit suicide by having the police shoot him.

In June and November 2016, police were called and both times he was taken to the hospital because he was depressed and threatening suicide. In both cases, doctors said later that Thompson wanted “death by police.”

In January, St. Louis Park Police were called and Thompson was outside a house, with a knife, and threatening suicide. Again, police talked him out of killing himself and he was taken to the hospital. He later told doctors there that he was angry the police would not shoot him and said that next time, “maybe I’ll just get a gun.”

On May 22, Thompson returned from treatment in California, and stayed with a friend in Golden Valley. On the 23rd, Golden Valley police were called to the house because his friends reported Thompson was talking about suicide. Thompson assured police, including a Crystal Police Department Sergeant, he was fine and they left. The father of his friend, who owned the house, said Thompson would have to leave and by 8:30 a.m. May 24th, he was gone. So was an airsoft BB handgun owned by his friend.

About a half-hour later, just before 9 a.m., Crystal Police Officer Bryan Elfstrom, a three-and-a-half year veteran of the department, heard the call of a black man with a handgun at 29th Place and Brunswick Avenue North. As he headed there, the location was updated to the Frisbee Golf Course in Bassett Creek Park.

Elfstrom was the first to arrive and drove onto the grass.  He could see a man on the hill walking back and forth with a black handgun in his right hand.

Several times Elfstrom told Thompson to drop the gun, while the officer pulled out his 9 mm handgun. Thompson, who was about 100 feet away, said “not today,” or “I can’t today.” Elfstrom moved to the rear of his squad car, opened the rear passenger door and got behind it for protection.

Soon, Crystal Police Officer Mason Barland, a 13-year member of the force pulled up. In the squad with him was rookie Crystal Officer Txheng Vang, who was completing his field training under Barland. The senior officer told Vang to take cover while Barland removed his bean bag shotgun from the squad car.

Thompson was smoking a cigarette and holding the gun in his left hand, sometimes pointing it in the direction of the officers. Barland fired two bean bags at Thompson. The first one missed, but the second one connected, bringing Thompson to his knees.

Just seconds before Barland and Vang pulled up in their squad car, 20-year Crystal Police Officer Kathleen Gomez had arrived and she grabbed her rifle. She also had yelled at Thompson to stop and also shouted “what are you doing?” “what are you thinking?”  When Thompson got up from his knees, he brought his handgun up and aimed it with both hands towards Barland.  Elfstrom immediately fired at least a dozen shots and all of the officers fired at least one shot and most fired repeatedly. Thompson finally went down and Elfstrom jumped into Gomez’s car and they drove up the hill. They screamed at Thompson to show his hands and he eventually complied.

At the same time, Minnesota State Trooper Sara Evans arrived and joined Gomez and Elfstrom by Thompson with her gun drawn. She noticed the gun under Thompson’s left leg and grabbed it and moved it 10 feet away. She also noticed a knife and dragged it with her foot over by the gun.

During the investigation, police found a cell phone on the hill and it showed a six minute 911 call to police beginning at 8:53 a.m. When the tape of the call was played for friends, they identified the voice as being Thompson. They also found a bottle of Chic Merlot red nail polish near Thompson. It was used to cover the orange tip of the gun so police would think it was a real gun, rather than a bb gun.

The bullet removed from Thompson’s head came from Officer Elfstrom’s gun. The other bullet entered his abdomen and traveled to his back near his spine and the surgeon decided not to remove it.

Freeman and two senior prosecutors reviewed the evidence and concluded the use of deadly force against Thompson was justified because he put both of his hands on the gun and aimed it directly at Barland.

“At that point, it was clear that the use of deadly force against Thompson was necessary to prevent harm or death to the officers or any bystander in the area,” the county attorney’s report states.



Thompson-Khaleel-Report 10-31-17 

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Reports - Complete

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Finding and Order - unseal SW

Finding and Order - unseal SW

Order to Unseal SW - Ramsey County

Order to Unseal SW - Ramsey County