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Grand jury: No charges for officer who fatally shot motorist after being dragged


A Lino Lakes police officer who fatally shot a driver during a traffic stop will not face charges, according to reports.

The Anoka County Attorney's Office said in a press release Wednesday a grand jury declined to indict Sgt. William Owens for his actions the night of May 8, which resulted in the death of 31-year-old Sam Matthew Holmes, of New Brighton, MPR reports.

The grand jury heard testimony from 15 witnesses before making its decision, concluding Owens was justified in his use of force, WCCO reports.

In a news release, Lino Lakes Public Safety Director John Swenson said he respects the work and conclusion of the grand jury. With the external review over, the Lino Lakes Public Safety Department will conduct a "thorough and transparent" internal review – a process "vital" to keeping up public trust and the department's integrity, Swenson said.

"We understand that the life-or-death decisions made by officers have a profound impact across our entire community," he said. "They deeply affect and forever alter the lives of the officers, their departments and the friends and loved ones of the individuals involved."

Owens, who's been with the Lino Lakes Police Department for 13 years, stopped Holmes for speeding shortly before 11 p.m. that night, then attempted to arrest him for outstanding warrants and suspected driving while impaired, the Department of Public Safety said at the time.

A struggle broke out, in which Owens attempted to subdue Holmes with a Taser, the department said. Holmes got back into the car and started driving, dragging Owens with him, according to the department.

It was at this point that Owens shot Holmes, killing him. Owens fell onto the highway and the car continued, eventually leaving the road, going through a fence and stopping in a Cub Foods parking lot on the northwest corner of University Avenue and I-694.

Owens was treated at a hospital for his injuries. He returned to the force after his injuries healed, according to Lino Lakes Public Safety.

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