St. Paul officer 'justified' in fatally shooting suspect who fired at him, county attorney says

The incident happened May 26, 2016.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

A St. Paul police officer who fatally shot an armed suspect last May won't be charged with a crime.

Ramsey County Attorney John Choi announced Wednesday that officer Joshua Raichert's use of deadly force against 29-year-old Eugene Smith was "legally justified" under state law.

According to the county attorney's office, Raichert and other officers were doing a sweep of a home on Minnehaha Avenue on May 26, 2016. When Raichert entered the bedroom Smith was in, Smith fired a shotgun towards the officer, hitting the wall above his right shoulder.

At that point, Raichert fired six shots at Smith, killing him.

Choi's decision comes after the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigated the incident, and then presented its findings to the county attorney's office, which considered whether to charge Raichert.

The Ramsey County Attorney's Office says it "carefully reviewed" the evidence presented by the BCA, and it has made copies of the investigative file available to the public.

To read the county attorney's review of the investigation, click here. And for a copy of the investigative file, you can contact the BCA's public information officer at 651-793-2726.

Why no grand jury?

Previously, Choi – and many other county attorneys in the state – had asked grand juries to consider charges against officers in these types of cases, but that changed following the fatal shooting of Philando Castile.

In that case, Choi's office decided to bring charges against the officer instead of leaving it up to a grand jury. This marked the first time an on-duty officer in Minnesota had been charged in the fatal shooting of someone in at least the past 16 years, according to the Star Tribune’s database.

The Pioneer Press explains that going forward, Choi's office would review officer-involved shootings instead of taking them to a grand jury, unless there was an investigative need to convene one.

Grand juries have been controversial as of late, with some saying they rarely bring charges against officers in use-of-force cases. Others have said they also lack accountability and there are transparency issues.

Next Up

Adam Thielen

Vikings place Adam Thielen on COVID-19/reserve list

Thielen is coming off a two-touchdown game against the Cowboys.

MCF Oak Park Heights

COVID-positive inmate at Oak Park Heights prison dies

He becomes the fourth prison inmate to die from the virus.

Screen Shot 2020-11-23 at 1.08.19 PM

2-ton smoker stolen from Twin Cities chef Thomas Boemer

Boemer is the chef behind restaurants including the popular Revival.

Governor Tim Walz

Walz says relief package is coming for Minnesota small businesses

Walz is prepared to call a special session and pass the package immediately.

Governor Tim Walz

Watch live: Gov. Tim Walz COVID-19 press conference Monday

Walz will be introducing a new app that helps Minnesotans track COVID-19 exposures.

Related

Eagan officer was justified when he fatally shot armed suspect, grand jury says

Police said the man had been firing a handgun from a vehicle.

St. Paul police officers' decision to shoot Cordale Handy was justified, attorney's office says

The 29-year-old pointed an unloaded gun at the officers twice, the investigation found.

Ramsey County: Billy Hughes' fatal shooting by police was justified

The 43-year-old exited his building while holding a gun.

Deputy who shot armed suspect after a 13-mile chase was 'justified'

It's rare for an officer to be criminally charged in use-of-force incidents.

Burnsville officer 'was justified' in fatal shooting of suicidal gunman

The suicidal man had recently quit his job and broken up with his girlfriend.

Police shot suspect after he fired at officers, officials say

It's the second officer-involved shooting in as many days.