Officers 'justified' in killing father outside a McDonald's, grand jury finds

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Three police officers who shot a knife-wielding man to death outside a McDonald's in Burnsville will not face any criminal action.

A Dakota County grand jury concluded that Burnsville police officers Taylor Jacobs, John Mott, and Maksim Yakovlev were legally justified when they used deadly force in the killing of 38-year-old Map Kong, from Chaska, on March 17.

According to an announcement from the Dakota County Attorney's Office issued Tuesday evening, an autopsy on Kong concluded he died of multiple gunshot wounds, and that he also tested positive for amphetamine and methamphetamine.

The grand jury also heard that Kong was in his car with the knife, and only "bolted from the vehicle" after being hit twice with a Taser.

The sequence of events on the night of his death are as follows:

  • Police are called to reports of a man with a knife inside his vehicle in the McDonald's parking lot near Highway 13 in Burnsville at 6:15 a.m.
  • Kong was observed sitting in the driver's seat and "erratically bouncing around" and "aggressively waving a large, dagger-style knife."
  • He ignored repeated orders to exit the vehicle with his knife, at which point they deployed a Taser to incapacitate, which they did twice after breaking the passenger side windows.
  • This had no effect on Kong, who "bolted from the vehicle while carrying the knife."
  • Three of the four officers in attendance opened fire, killing him.

Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom did express sympathy to Map Kong's friends and family, who have previously described the 38-year-old as a "happy, joyful father of two" not known to be violent.

He did say however that the use of force in this case was justified to protect officer life, saying peace officers must be given an "allowance" for the fact they are forced to make "split-second decisions about the amount of force necessary in a particularly situation."

"Law enforcement officers are trained to protect and serve our communities each and every day," he said. "Unfortunately there are times when officers are placed in a situation where they must use deadly force to protect themselves and the public."

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