Armed carjacking suspect pointed his gun at officers before he was killed, BCA says

The BCA released more information about what led to the shooting.
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The armed carjacking suspect who was killed by police earlier this week had pointed his gun at the officers, according to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA).

Gregory Shawn Thrower, a 39-year-old from Kinston, North Carolina, was with his 7-year-old daughter when he carjacked a vehicle in the City of North Branch just before 8 a.m. on July 10, the BCA says.

Officials had asked for the public's help in finding the suspect and eventually caught up with him in a bean field in rural Fish Lake Township around 10 a.m. Thrower had used OnStar on the stolen car to contact officials. Thrower, who was making suicidal threats, told officials to come get his daughter from where he was, the BCA says.

When officers arrived, Thrower "emerged from an area of tall reeds ... pointing a handgun at them."

All seven officers who were there shot their guns, hitting Thrower. The BCA says he died of "multiple gunshot wounds."

The officers involved have been identified as:

  • Deputy Scotty Finnegan, who's been with the Chisago County Sheriff's Office for 15 months.
  • Deputy Tom Hanson, who's been with the Chisago County Sheriff's Office for eight years.
  • Investigator Cliff Sheppeck, who's been with the Chisago County Sheriff's Office for 13 years.
  • Sgt. Matt Beckman, who's been with the Chisago County Sheriff's Office for 19 years.
  • Sgt. Jason Foster, who's been with the Chisago County Sheriff's Office for 16 years.
  • Sgt. Kyle Puelston, who's been with the Chisago County Sheriff's Office for 11 years.
  • Trooper Travis Elmer, who's been with the Minnesota State Patrol for six years.

Thrower's daughter was inside the stolen car, which was about 30 feet away from the shooting. She wasn't hurt.

The BCA is investigating the officer-involved shooting, noting the officers weren't wearing body cameras and there's no squad video of the shooting. When the agency is done investigating, it'll pass along its findings to the Chisago County Attorney's Office, which will decide whether charges should be filed.

The North Branch Police Department is investigating the carjacking incident.

So far this year at least four people have been fatally shot by police in Minnesota, while 508 people have been killed by police nationally this year, according to the Washington Post’s fatal force database. Last year, 963 people were killed by police in the U.S., including 14 people in Minnesota.

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