Skip to main content

Grand jury: No charges against St. Paul cops who killed man in standoff

  • Author:
  • Updated:

Two St. Paul police officers will not face criminal charges for fatally shooting a man in a standoff at his home on the city's east side last year.

The Ramsey County Attorney's office said Wednesday a grand jury found the SWAT team members were justified in using deadly force when Justin Todd Tolkinen, 28, aimed an assault rifle at them.

County Attorney John Choi released a statement summarizing the events of last March 16, as determined by investigators. It gives this account:

When police responded to calls from neighbors, Tolkinen – who had been treated for mental illness and chemical addiction in the past – was wearing an armored vest and brandishing the assault rifle on the deck of his White Bear Ave. home.

A crisis negotiator tried unsuccessfully to calm Tolkinen, who'd been yelling about the government and police.

The SWAT team was summoned and tried to take Tolkinen into custody. The two officers who fired at him said they feared for their lives after Tolkinen aimed his rifle at them. Tolkinen's vest stopped some of the gunshots but others struck him in unprotected areas, killing him.

A spokesman for the County Attorney says 23 randomly selected residents sat on the grand jury. An indictment against the officers would have required the agreement of 12 of them.

Instead, they returned what's known as a "no bill" decision, meaning they found the officers' actions were justified under the state law that authorizes the use of deadly force by law enforcement when required.

Next Up

hennepin county sheriff water patrol lake minnetonka

Scuba diver found dead in Lake Minnetonka identified as 20-year-old

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office said 20-year-old Brady Alan Aune, from Elko New Market, died of freshwater drowning on June 3.

Screen Shot 2022-06-30 at 11.18.35 AM

Felony charges filed after authorities search 'Peacebunny Cottage'

The president of the rabbit rescue non-profit faces multiple animal cruelty charges after over 40 rabbits were found dead inside the organization's barn.

monkeypox virus

Minnesota up to 6 confirmed cases of monkeypox virus

Most people recover at home within 2-4 weeks.

thc edibles

Did Minnesota just accidentally legalize THC?

A Republican lawmaker who voted to approve the new law in May is already talking about rolling it back.

Screen Shot 2022-06-30 at 3.19.42 PM

Gasoline may be cause of sewer explosion on U of M campus

An all-clear was given around 9 p.m. Thursday, with residents in the area allowed to return to their homes.


Overwhelming demand for THC products on first day of new law in MN

One shop owner said his Chaska store broke the online sales record before they opened Friday morning.

Flickr - Lake Minnetonka boat - Greg Gjerdingen

Increased drunk boating enforcement over 4th of July weekend

The increased enforcement is part of the Operation Dry Water initiative.


Four kayakers stranded, rescued in Chisholm park

The kayakers became stranded at Redhead Mountain Bike Park Thursday afternoon.


Duo charged after 10-pound meth package sent to wrong address

More than 10 pounds of meth are off the street thanks to a delivery error.

Screen Shot 2022-07-01 at 11.01.32 AM

Bird Rides' suburban expansion continues in Minnesota

Its scooter season in Minnesota. The latest on where you can find Bird e-scooters:

Flickr - police lights squad siren - Edward Kimmel

Man found dead with 'trauma to his face' in St. Paul

A man was found dead with "trauma to his face" in St. Paul after 3 a.m.

Hibbing ambulance

Boyfriend jailed after woman found dead in Hibbing

The woman was found dead on Tuesday, June 28.