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As Fitch trial opens, jury sees video of Scott Patrick's death


Jurors watched video footage of the last minutes of a police officer's life as the murder trial of Brian Fitch opened Thursday.

Video from dashboard cameras showed Mendota Heights police officer Scott Patrick pulling over a Pontiac Grand Am last July and then falling to the ground after three shots were fired. The shooter was not visible.

Several news outlets released edited versions of the video footage. This one from FOX 9 does not show the shooting, but does include some audio.

One camera was pointed inside the squad car and shows Patrick as he prepares to pull over a vehicle. Another camera shows the view of the scene at Dodd Road and Smith Avenue. The Pontiac Grand Am speeds away after three shots are fired.

Distraught bystanders try to help the fallen police officer and some testified Thursday about what happened on July 30.

The Pioneer Press says Jennifer O'Keefe, who is a nurse, tried to administer CPR but testified that it seemed to do more harm than good because Patrick was bleeding heavily from a head wound.

The newspaper says Joseph McCollum testified he rushed to Patrick but "could tell he was gone." McCollum then used Patrick's radio to send out an "officer down" call.

The Star Tribune reports Dakota County District Court Judge Mary Theissen allowed jurors a 10 minute recess after seeing the videos.

Patrick's half brother, Mike Brue, told the paper “It was very … there are no words when you hear the sounds that ended a family member’s life.”

Opening statements

Before the video was shown, the prosecution and defense gave jurors an overview of the case.

FOX says prosecutor Rick Dusterhoft told jurors there will be indisputable evidence that Fitch was the gunman. He says acquaintances will testify they saw Fitch with a gun after the shooting.

Defense attorney Lori Traub argued the timeline laid out by the prosecution is not valid. Traub also attacked ballistics tests prosecutors will use to connect Fitch's gun with the shots that killed Patrick.

The Star Tribune says Traub summed up the case this way: “Their timeline doesn’t fit; the shooter isn’t Mr. Fitch; the firearms testimony isn’t science and it isn’t very reliable, and that, ladies and gentlemen, is not guilty.”

FOX says in urging jurors to be open to the possibility that Fitch was not the shooter, Traub cited the popular public radio podcast "Serial," in which a reporter looking back at a murder case is left wondering if the wrong person was convicted.

Fitch faces life in prison without parole if convicted of murdering Patrick. He also faces charges – including attempted murder – stemming from the shootout with St. Paul police that preceded his arrest on the evening of July 30.

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