No charges for St. Paul officers in 'tragic' fatal shooting of man


A grand jury has decided not to bring charges against the officers who fatally shot a St. Paul man, after police say he ran at an officer while holding a screwdriver.

The Ramsey County Attorney's Office said in an email release Thursday afternoon the grand jury returned a "no bill" decision, meaning there was not probable cause to charge an officer for the shooting of Philip Quinn.

Included in the email release is a .pdf of a memo sent to Ramsey County Attorney John Choi, laying out their interpretation of the events. You can read that document here.

The St. Paul Police Department is releasing all of its investigative files to the general public, as well as Quinn's family, which will include case files, transcripts of 911 calls, and squad video footage, according to the Star Tribune's Chao Xiong.

Last month, St. Paul police announced officer-involved shootings would no longer be investigated internally by the department, but instead by an outside agency.

The shooting of Philip Quinn

On Sept. 24 last year, officers were called by Quinn's family members after the 30-year-old – whom they identified as a schizophrenic – was behaving erratically and had threatened to stab his girlfriend.

When they showed up, officers did not have a clear view of Quinn so did not approach him, and waited for a K-9 officer to arrive. One of the officer then saw Quinn make thrusting motions with one arm, and he "suddenly ran down the driveway and directly at" an officer while wielding a screwdriver, according to the document. The officer backed up but was stopped by a fence, and yelled at Quinn to drop the screwdriver; when Quinn was six or eight feet away, the officer fired his service weapon, the document says.

The officers involved in the shooting were identified as Joe LaBathe, an eight-year veteran, and Rich McGuire, a seven-year veteran.

Quinn's brother contended afterwards that police "did not have to use lethal ammunition," saying Quinn was only a danger to himself.

St. Paul police chief Tom Smith said at a news conference Thursday Quinn suffered from mental illness, KARE 11 reports. According to the memo document, toxicology tests on Quinn were positive for amphetamine and methamphetamine.

Smith said the decision to release the case files was the force's attempt to do "something different" as a police department, being more transparent about "tragic" incidents such as this one, according to MPR's Riham Feshir.

He also used the conference to highlight the issues surrounding mental illness, saying Quinn might not have died had there been a treatment bed available to him.

Next Up