Officers who shot and killed couple on Highway 212 cleared by grand jury

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Four police officers involved in a high-profile shooting that killed a couple on Highway 212 in Eden Prairie have been cleared by a grand jury.

The Hennepin County grand jury will not indict Chaska Police Sgt. Brady Juell and Officer Trent Wurtz, Carver County Sheriff's Corporal Nate Mueller, and Minnesota State Patrol Trooper Mark Lund after they shot and killed Matthew Serbus and Dawn Pfister on Feb. 7 this year, the Hennepin County Attorney's Office announced.

Serbus, 36, and Pfister, 34, both of Elkhorn, Wisconsin, were fleeing police in a stolen car after being involved in a hit-and-run accident during morning rush-hour, according to the attorney's office.

They crashed in Eden Prairie and Serbus emerged from the car with a knife he refused to drop, police said. After he was shot by police, Pfister then picked up the knife and she, too, was shot, according to police.

The shooting provoked anger from Pfister's family, with her father believing the mother-of-two's death was wrongful and that she posed no threat to the officers.

The Star Tribune reports that the family's attorney, Robert Bennett, points out that Pfister was referred to as a "hostage" on scanner recordings, so she should not have been shot.

But KSTP reported in February that officers defer to "Rule 21," a police standard that says officers should not let someone wielding a deadly weapon within 21 feet of them, because they could attack an officer quicker than the time it takes for them to take their weapon from their holster.

Grand juries do not exist to apportion blame, rather they are there to determine whether there is evidence of probable cause that a crime was committed, and that there is enough evidence to justify bringing it to trial, the Star Tribune notes.

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