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Prosecutor seeks new charge against Duluth officer who shot through man's door

Tyler Leibfried's trial is set to begin early next year.

The Duluth police officer who was charged after shooting a man through a closed apartment door late last year could be facing even more prison time. 

On September 12, 2020, Tyler Leibfried, a five-year veteran of the Duluth Police Department, was responding to a domestic incident at the downtown residence at the time of the incident. 

When Leibfried and another officer were about to knock on the door, they heard "loud noises described as a bang or firearm report sound from inside," the original charges say.

Leibfried then fired his weapon, with a bullet striking the shoulder of a 23-year-old man inside the apartment. Investigators later determined that no gunshots were fired inside before Leibfried discharged his firearm, and that the only weapon in the residence was a hatchet located just inside the door.

Leibfried was soon placed on standard administrative leave, though a couple months later his status was changed to "off duty indefinitely" and he was charged with two felonies: intentional discharge of a firearm that endangers safety of another, and reckless discharge of a firearm in a municipality.

Now, more than a year after the incident, the new prosecutor on the case — Assistant County Attorney Aaron Welch, who has taken over for his now-retired predecessor —has filed a motion to charge Leibfried with second-degree assault. 

He's also asking the court for permission to seek an aggravated sentence against Leibfried, as "the offense was committed in a location in which the Victim had an expectation of privacy."

Leibfried, 29, will be facing more than a decade in prison if the court grants the prosecutor's request. 

He's scheduled to go to trial on January 18, per the Duluth News Tribune.  

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