No charges against Richfield or Edina Police in fatal shooting

Monday,

After careful and extensive review of the evidence the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office will not file criminal charges against Richfield or Edina police officers for the fatal shooting of Brian Quinones-Rosario, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Monday.

“First I want to acknowledge what a tragic event this was. My condolences go out to Mr. Quinones' friends and family," Freeman stated. "Our office received hours of video evidence from the Richfield and Edina police squad car cameras and from Mr. Quinones’ personal Facebook Live video. When Mr. Quinones left his car after leading police on a chase, he had a knife in his hand. Subsequently, he threatened several officers with the knife. Mr. Quinones refused police requests to stand down and refused to drop the knife.

“Under Minnesota law, it is clear that Officers Pedersen, Schultz, Stariha, Carroll, and Wenande’s use of deadly force was necessary, proportional, and objectively reasonable in the face of the apparent threat of death or great bodily harm, and no criminal charges are warranted."    

 

Factual Background

Richfield and Edina police squad car cameras and Quinones’ personal Facebook Live video captured the incident from beginning to end.

From Quinones’ Facebook Live video, it showed him driving, and in the process, violating multiple traffic laws: speeding, making illegal turns and running a red light. The squad car’s flashing lights are visible in the video.

Evidence revealed that, shortly after 10:00 p.m. on Sept. 7, Edina Police Officer Nicholas Pedersen was driving in the center lane on Normandale Frontage Rd. near 77th St. when Quinones’ gray car approached his vehicle on the right. Quinones turned against the light while speeding, and Officer Pedersen turned on his squad car camera and started following Quinones who was holding a cell phone up by his face. Quinones continued speeding and made a left turn without signaling, causing Officer Pedersen to turn on his emergency lights and siren, directing Quinones to pull over.

Officer Pedersen noted Quinones’ erratic driving, crossing over center lines and refusing to stop or pull his car over. Officer Pedersen sent a dispatch to other officers that he had “one not stopping.” When Officer Pedersen crossed the intersection at 76th and Xerxes, he entered the city of Richfield. At 77th St., he waited for additional squad cars to join him so they could make a felony stop of Quinones’ car.

Thinking that Quinones may be drunk, at Portland Ave., Officer Pedersen attempted a PIT maneuver on Quinones’ car, where he would bump the back of Quinones’ vehicle attempting to stop the vehicle. Officer Pedersen missed, but Quinones unexpectedly slammed on his brakes and thereafter Officer Pedersen parked in front of Quinones’ car in the left lane.

When Officer Pedersen exited the squad car with his gun drawn, Quinones quickly came up behind him, aggressively pointing a knife in his direction.

Richfield Police Officer, Dylan Schultz—who heard Officer Pedersen’s dispatch—was the next officer to arrive on scene.  He saw Quinones with the knife outside of his car walking towards Pedersen, during which time Officer Pedersen said “drop the knife” once again through the radio. Officer Schultz exited his squad car and ran up to Officer Pederson and Quinones who were standing on the median. Officer Schultz then attempted to use non-deadly force to end this situation by tasering Quinones. Unfortunately, that did not stop Quinones.

As Officer Schultz approached, Quinones unexpectedly bolted towards Officer Pederson, apparently distracted by the other officers arriving. Officer Pedersen became concerned at the unexpected movement fired three shots at Quinones, stopping when he notices the other officers on scene.

By then, three additional officers arrived on scene: Richfield Police Officers Macabe Stariha and Joseph Carroll, and Edina Police Officer Benjamin Wenande. When Officer Schultz discharged the Taser, Quinones turned, pointed his blade at Officer Schultz and ran at him, screaming “Kill me, kill me!”

It is then that Richfield Police Officer Stariha feared Quinones would hurt or kill Officer Schultz and others on site, fired five shots at Quinones. Quinones then raised his arms toward his midsection, dropped his head, made a slashing gesture with his knife and lunged towards Richfield Police Officer Carroll. Officer Carroll shot once and Officer Stariha fired three additional shots at Quinones.

During this incident, Edina Police Officer Benjamin Wenande—who arrived last, parked behind three Richfield squad cars and walked towards the median where other officers and Quinones were standing. Officer Wenande heard officers saying “Drop the knife” repeatedly. Quinones moved closer to Officer Wenande with the knife in his hand and Officer Wenande fired a single shot at Quinones.

After being shot multiple times, Quinones finally fell to the ground, dropping the knife.

Once the car was secured, Officers Schultz and Carroll retrieved a medical kit and rendered first aid to Quinones before paramedics arrived.  When medics arrived, Quinones was pronounced dead on the scene.

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s autopsy of Quinones found he was shot seven times and died as a result of those injuries. Toxicology tests revealed Quinones was not under drug or alcohol influence during the incident.

The five police officers involved provided voluntary statements to the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office a few days after the shooting, in addition to toxicology testing. Results showed all five officers were not under the influence of any substances at the time of the altercation.

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Investigative Materials

The materials disclosed by the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office today are public investigative materials particularly relevant to the charging decision in this case.  Other information collected in the case that also became public data at the conclusion of this investigation may be cumulative and are not posted on this website.  Any requests for additional data should be referred to the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, the investigating agency in this case.

 

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