Two deputies in northern Minnesota who fatally shot a 19-year-old accused of shoplifting have declined to be interviewed by agents from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA).
The BCA is leading the investigation of the incident, which happened Dec. 5 in Mountain Iron after authorities were called to a business on the 8400 block of Enterprise Drive North on a report of a shoplifter.
According to the St. Louis County Sheriff's Office, 19-year-old Estavon Dominick Elioff, of Virginia, Minnesota, refused police commands and fled on foot. During the search, it was learned that Elioff matched the description of a man wanted in connection to a drive-by shooting in Virginia.
An hour after setting up a perimeter and searching for the 19-year-old, Elioff was found by deputies and K9 officers in a wooded area. The sheriff's office said Tasers were deployed but at "one point" during the incident two deputies discharged their firearms, fatally striking Elioff.
The deputies who fired their weapons were identified Tuesday by the BCA:
- Deputy Ryan Smith: 11 years with the St. Louis County Sheriff Office.
- Deputy Matt Tomsich: 12 years with the St. Louis County Sheriff Office.
"Both deputies Tomsich and Smith have declined to be interviewed by BCA agents," the BCA release said. "Attorneys for the deputies provided unsolicited written reports from the officers to the BCA on Tuesday."
The press release from the sheriff's office did not say if Elioff was armed, though the BCA says a knife was recovered from the scene.
The BCA's update to its investigation notes that St. Louis County Sheriff's Office deputies do not wear body cameras and dash cameras did not capture the incident, and there were no witnesses to the shooting.
Both deputies are on standard administrative leave.