STILLWATER, Minn. — A Minnesota jury began deliberating Wednesday in the trial of a sheriff’s deputy who fatally shot an armed suicidal man in 2018.
Washington County Deputy Brian Krook says he feels horrible about the shooting, but that he had no choice because his life and the lives of his colleagues were threatened.
Krook killed Benjamin Evans, a 23-year-old emergency medical technician and probationary firefighter who was distraught over a breakup. The April 12, 2018, shooting happened after a standoff in which Evans knelt in a Lake Elmo intersection for about 40 minutes with a gun to his head. Krook is on trial for manslaughter.
Krook testified Tuesday that he felt threatened by Evans, even though Evans said he wouldn’t hurt the deputies who had arrived at the scene. Krook said: “People say that to give you a false sense of security. It’s not reassurance for me.”
According to Minnesota Public Radio News, Krook testified that Evans was growing more “amped up and animated.” Krook said he fired four rounds after Evans pointed his gun toward him and Deputy Michael Ramos. Krook ran up to Evans and fired three more rounds.
While Evans had been holding the gun to his own head, Krook, 32, said, “Bullets don’t just stop after they go through someone.”
Krook’s testimony continued Wednesday. A prosecutor alleged Krook improperly rushed to confront Evans before shooting him, the Star Tribune reported.
“You created this dangerous situation,” prosecutor Thomas Hatch said.
“Mr. Evans created this situation,” Krook replied.
“Sure, Mr. Evans started it,” Hatch said, “and you finished it.”
Prosecutors say Krook ignored the law and his training when he shot Evans, but defence attorneys have said that Evans wanted to die and they called the situation a “suicide by cop.” They said Evans would have lived if he had put down his gun, as officers had ordered.
Krook is the third Minnesota officer in recent years to be charged in an on-duty killing. Former St. Anthony officer Jeronimo Yanez was acquitted in the July 2016 killing of Philando Castile, and former Minneapolis officer Mohamed Noor was convicted in the July 2017 shooting of Justine Ruszczyk Damond.
The Associated Press