Authorities say man shot by St. Paul police had gun; mother says he didn't deserve to die

Cordale Handy was shot by police officers who responded to a domestic situation.
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Authorities say the man shot by St. Paul police last week pointed his gun at officers and refused to put down the firearm.

The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which reviews all St. Paul police shootings, released more details from its preliminary investigation into the March 15 encounter. Authorities have said police were called to an apartment building in St. Paul around 2:20 a.m. on a domestic situation involving physical violence, and encountered Cordale Quinn Handy in the street nearby.

Authorities had not said anything else about what happened in the lead-up, until an update Saturday evening.

In the update, the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension says Handy was holding a handgun, and refused to drop it after being told repeatedly. He also pointed the gun at officers twice, according to the bureau.

Two officers on the scene fired their weapons – the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension identified them Saturday as Mikko Norman and Nathaniel Younce. Both have two years of service.

Handy's gun was located next to him, then "kicked away" by officers in order to secure the scene. It was found "several feet away." (Authorities had initially only said a gun was found outside the apartment building, and that spent shell casings were found inside the apartment.)

Handy died at the scene of multiple gunshot wounds.

A third officer arrived on scene right after the shooting, but did not see it, the bureau says. All three officer are on administrative leave, which is standard.

Handy's family speaks out

Handy was 29 years old and from Waukegan, Illinois.

After the shooting, his mother told reporters he had moved up to Minnesota to leave a past in Illinois that included earlier run-ins with the law, such as being on the Lake County "10 Most Wanted" list in 2008, and being convicted of obstructing or interfering with a police officer, the Chicago Tribune reports.

He'd been charged with carjacking and burglary previously, and in 2012 was arrested with what police said was a stolen handgun, the Daily Herald reported.

But his mother said none of that meant he deserved to die.

"I don't think no child deserves to die in that manner," she said, according to the Tribune. "I just don't believe that in my heart. There's other places that you could shoot people and not kill them; not that shooting is right."

St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell wrote on Facebook that, while he can't discuss details of the shooting, "I do want you all to know that no one at the Saint Paul Police Department takes pleasure in having to use deadly force. Officers do not choose situations such as the one that occurred this morning, the situations choose the officers."

A Twin Cities group that provides defense help and relief to people planned a vigil in support of the Handy family Sunday.

Is there body camera footage?

The officers were not wearing body cameras. Surveillance video from a nearby building shows some of the incident, but not all of it – the bureau says in it, Handy can be see with a gun. It also notes the footage will be released once the investigation is complete.

The St. Paul Police Department does not widely use body cameras. Last fall the department ran a 60-day pilot program in only the Western District, testing different cameras and storage options. The Pioneer Press reported a full rollout is planned, and it could happen by October of 2017.

After the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is done with the investigation, it will give its findings to the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office, which will review them and determine whether to pursue criminal charges.

So far this year, there have been 219 fatal officer-involved shootings in the U.S., including Wednesday’s incident in St. Paul and two others in Minnesota, the Washington Post’s database shows. Last year, there were 963 fatal shootings by officers, including 14 in Minnesota.

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