Publish date:

Attorney: Police justified in deadly shooting during hostage situation

The fatal police shooting took place in the city's downtown on Nov. 27.

The police officer who shot and killed a suspect in Virginia, Minnesota, in November has been cleared of any wrongdoing. 

St. Louis County Attorney Mark Rubin announced Thursday that Officer Nicholas Grivna of the Virginia Police Department "was placed in a situation which necessitated the use of deadly force in the course of his work." 

Killed in the incident was J. Scot Alan Widmark, 41, of Virginia. 

Rubin came to the conclusion after reviewing a report from Vernon D. Swanum, an attorney who conducted the case review and presented his findings, which are detailed below. 

It was of Swanum's opinion that Officer Grivna "was facing a situation where a private citizen was in grave imminent danger of great bodily harm" during the Nov. 27, 2018 incident. 

Details of the hostage situation

The original 911 call was made by a woman at 5:01 p.m. who had run from her vehicle parked on the street in downtown Virginia when Widmark forced his way into the passenger seat and demanded she get out. 

The first officer arrived on scene at 5:07 p.m. to Widmark sitting in the woman's car, but then got out and pulled a large knife from his jacket and started walking towards him before running the opposite direction. 

The officer followed on foot as Widmark ran south on 3rd Avenue, then grabbing a man from behind who'd been walking in the same direction. Widmark placed the man in a headlock with his left arm and raised the large knife in his right hand. 

Follow Bring Me The News on Twitter for the latest story updates

More law enforcement arrived on scene, including Grivna, who was armed with a rifle. 

Repeated attempts to get Widmark to lower his weapon and let the hostage go were unanswered and Widmark continued to back away from officers, with Grivna deciding he was out of options.

"Officer Grivna believed that unless he ended the situation that [hostage] would be stabbed," Swanum's report notes. 

The bullet struck Widmark in the right hand and then in the right cheek. 

Approximately four minutes passed between the shot and the time EMTs arrived to treat Widmark, who later died from his injuries. 

"I have concluded that officer Grivna displayed superb training, courage, restraint, compassion, and professionalism and his actions were justified, lawful and therefore authorized under the law," said Rubin. 

"He probably saved an innocent citizen's life." 

Next Up

first snow

Any sign of snow in the forecast for Minnesota?

The stars could align for some flurries in northern Minnesota this week, but that's about it.

Flickr - 14 year old vaccine shot - Navy Medicine

Walz announces $200 reward for kids 12-17 who get COVID shots

Those ages have the lowest vaccination rates among all eligible age groups.

Screen Shot 2021-10-15 at 10.01.55 PM

Police still searching for suspect who opened fire at Plymouth movie theater

It sparked a partial evacuation of the Emagine Willow Creek theater.

covid, vaccine

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Monday, October 18

Hospitalizations have surpassed 1,000 in the latest update.

Gully Boys van stolen Twitter pic 1

Mpls. band Gully Boys' van stolen, with all their gear inside

They're asking Twin Cities residents to be on the lookout for the silver van.

ATV, all-terrain vehicle

2 girls from St. Cloud injured in ATV crash

Neither girl was wearing a helmet, the sheriff's office said.

Kirk Cousins

Kirk Cousins has turned into a late-game killer for the Vikings

Cousins has given the Vikings a chance to tie or win the game 7 times in 6 games.

john oliver

Watch: The absurd ad 'Last Week Tonight' wrote for a MN car dealership

Host John Oliver described the commercial as a "tense domestic psychodrama."

Car driving

Minnesota is on track for the most road deaths since 2007

Minnesota has recorded 384 traffic deaths as of Oct. 14.


1 dead, 1 airlifted following Goodhue County crash

The crash happened around 6:15 a.m. Sunday.


Mendota Heights bridge

Man shot dead by police after hostage situation on Mendota Bridge

The female victim wasn't seriously injured, police said.

1 dead in officer-involved shooting in Virginia, Minnesota

The suspect was shot and killed on Tuesday evening.

Bemidji police chief: Stop spreading rumors about deadly police shooting

A 34-year-old man was killed in the officer-involved shooting on Nov. 28.

Ronald Davis

Use of force 'justified' in fatal police shooting of Ronald Davis

The 31-year-old was holding a knife in his hand when he was shot dead.

1 dead in officer-involved shooting in Brooklyn Center

Police responded to a domestic disturbance call around 4:20 p.m. Saturday.

Screen Shot 2021-06-04 at 6.30.24 AM

County attorney: Winston Smith killing justified, no charges for deputies

The prosecutor who reviewed the case recommended against any criminal charges for officers involved.