Skip to main content
Publish date:

No charges against 4 officers who fatally shot armed robbery suspect near Minnesota River

The 24-year-old suspect allegedly fired shots at numerous law enforcement officers.
Author:

No charges will be filed against four officers who fired their weapons in the fatal shooting of an armed robbery suspect who allegedly shot at deputies and police while floating on a raft down the Minnesota River in April. 

Le Sueur County Sheriff Brett Mason announced Friday that the investigation into the shooting led to a determination that the officers did the right thing by discharging their firearms. 

The deadly encounter followed an April 18 report of an armed robbery at a convenience store on Highway 169, with the suspect, identified as 24-year-old Austin D. Heights, then crossing the highway and heading toward the Minnesota River. 

Heights was spotted by authorities a short time later on a raft, at which point he fired several times at police. Officers returned fire, fatally striking Heights. The four officers involved who will not be charged are: 

  • Paul Biederman, 15-year veteran deputy with the Nicollet County Sheriff's Office.
  • Lt. Jeremy Brennan, 19-year veteran with the Blue Earth County Sheriff's Office. 
  • James Othoudt, 13-year veteran deputy with the Blue Earth County Sheriff's Office.
  • Chris Hendrickson, 20-year veteran officer with North Mankato PD. 

The release from the Le Sueur County Sheriff's Office says Heights ignored commands from officers to return to shore and began paddling north on the river. A Blue Earth County deputy and a DNR conservation officer then approached Heights on a DNR watercraft, and after the officers told Heights to show his hands he allegedly raised his gun and fired at them. 

More law enforcement watercraft arrived and took gunfire from Heights. 

Heights then paddled north and came ashore on the east side of the Minnesota River, where he attempted to flee while in possession of two long guns through a wooded area that led to a residential area. 

"Given Heights criminal behavior, failure to respond to commands from law enforcement and the multiple rounds fired upon law enforcement, deadly force was necessary to protect other law enforcement officers and civilians from great bodily harm or death," the release from the sheriff's office said. 

Le Sueur County Attorney Brent Christian reviewed the case and determined that the fatal shooting of Heights was justified and authorized under statute 609.066, which defines "authorized use of deadly force by peace officers."

Weather with Sven Sundgaard

Next Up

south lake minnetonka police department

25-year-old arrested after multi-city police chase in western suburbs

Police were called for a welfare check but learned it was a domestic violence incident.

Screen Shot 2021-12-02 at 8.34.54 AM

After getting COVID, Harrison Smith still not considering vaccine

The Vikings safety says he doesn't plan on getting vaccinated.

covid

First omicron variant COVID case detected in MN

The individual is an adult male who lives in Hennepin County and had recently traveled.

wright county Sheriff Sean Deringer

Minnesota sheriff bashes MPD, 'disgusted' by officers' actions

The sheriff said he will no longer defend the Minneapolis Police Department.

Screen Shot 2021-12-02 at 7.59.52 AM

More than 2 years after announcing, Duck Donuts finally opens at MOA

The grand opening of the new location took place Wednesday.

unsplash - school girl students

St. Paul is closing 6 schools amid declining enrollment

The board revised the plan after the school communities voiced concerns.

Karl-Anthony Towns

X-rays negative after Karl-Anthony Towns takes scary fall

Towns crashed hard to the ground late in the game Wednesday night.

Minneapolis police

2 more homicides push Minneapolis closer to record set in 1995

The deadly shootings happened on the city's North Side Wednesday night.

Karl-Anthony Towns

KAT sets a franchise record, leaves early in loss to Wizards

Towns fell on his back in the final minutes of a loss in Washington.

Flickr - police lights squad siren - Edward Kimmel

Man shot by police in Forest Lake dies from injuries

It was one of two police shootings in the Twin Cities on the same day, both of which proved fatal.

Dylan Bundy

Report: Twins agree to deal with Dylan Bundy

The Twins signed the right-hander with a lockout imminent.

Related

police lights

Armed robbery suspect shot dead on MN River identified as 24-year-old

The 24-year-old is accused of firing on police first.

410 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, Minnesota - June 2019

BCA identifies Metro Transit officer who witnessed homicide, shot suspect

A 33-year-old Minneapolis man was killed by the suspect. The man shot by the officer is now in jail.

Mendota Heights bridge

Suspect killed by deputy on Mendota Bridge ID'd as Richfield man

The 31-year-old was allegedly holding a woman at gunpoint.

Blaine police

Charges: Man yelled obscenities, fired shots at officers during standoff

The incident in Blaine ended when a sheriff's deputy shot the suspect.

Image from iOS (86)

Man fatally shot by police in Robbinsdale is identified

The 47-year-old charged officers with a knife, police said.

Burnsville police shooting

BCA identifies 4 police officers involved in fatal shooting in Burnsville

Two officers fired handguns and two others shot rifles.

Carlito M. Kingbird

Search for person of interest in armed robbery near Bemidji

The 19-year-old was identified by authorities Tuesday.

Screen Shot 2020-12-02 at 10.27.14 AM

Naked man shot by St. Paul cop is charged for sexual assault of ex-girlfriend

The 31-year-old suspect remains at Regions Hospital after being shot.