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No charges against hospital guard for using Taser on man who killed deputy


A St. Cloud Hospital security guard will not face criminal charges for using a Taser on a patient who fatally shot a sheriff's deputy.

A Stearns County Attorney investigation into Ricky Ray Hess Jr. concluded that the security officer was justified in the force he used when detaining Danny Hammond on Oct. 18, who died a short time after he was stunned.

Hess was the first into the room after Hammond had grappled with Aitkin County Sheriff's Deputy Steven Sandberg, during which he got control of the officer's gun and fired a shot that killed the 60-year-old.

The report found that Hammond did not comply when Hess ordered him to put his hands behind his back, and used a Taser for five seconds on the patient, as he was starting to roll onto his back in contravention of Hess's orders to stay on his stomach.

Hammond was found not to be breathing after being stunned and died soon after, despite CPR efforts started by Hess himself and finished by medical staff.

The 50-year-old had been admitted to the hospital after a drug overdose and a suicide attempt. An autopsy found that his death was caused by a combination of factors: A pre-existing heart condition, his drug overdose, the exertion of his altercation with Sandberg, and the Taser shock.

The investigation found Hess's use of the Taser justified given the events that had happened just prior to it being deployed, and he had no reason to know of Hammond's underlying heart condition when he used it.

The report, which was sent to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, concludes that no criminal charges will be filed.

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