More than five months after a police K-9 and a suspect died during a lengthy standoff in Duluth, the county attorney has ruled that law enforcement's use of deadly force against the man was justified.
Saint Louis County Attorney Mark Rubin announced the ruling Thursday, saying "Duluth police officers and St. Louis County deputies were placed in a situation which necessitated the use of deadly force in the course of their work."
The incident took place Feb. 25-26 at a house on the 2300 block of West Fourth Street in Duluth, where 37-year-old David Joseph Wayne Conwell barricaded himself for approximately 19 hours, authorities said.
Police were responding to a report of a "physical domestic" incident, according to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, with Conwell allegedly refusing to surrender. At one point, police sent a K-9 after Conwell, but Conwell fatally shot the dog.
"He then subsequently discharged his sawed-off shotgun three more times notwithstanding continuing demands for him to show his hands, drop his weapon, and surrender," Rubin stated.
Four Duluth officers returned fire, though none of those shots struck Conwell.
According to Rubin, the standoff ended when two members of the St. Louis County Sheriff's Office shot Conwell as he was "still holding his sawed-off shotgun in his hand and refusing to comply with any orders."