Skip to main content

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

The incident happened May 26, 2016.

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

940 Margaret St, St Paul, MN 55106, United States - May 2019 (1)

4-year-old girl struck by hit-and-run driver in St. Paul

The girl was struck by the driver around 5 p.m. Monday.

Minneapolis police

Baby found safe inside car that was stolen in south Minneapolis

The incident happened near 32nd Street and Chicago Avenue around 7 p.m.

Anthony Edwards

Ant puts on a show to help Timberwolves beat Pacers

A third-quarter surge gave the Timberwolves their seventh win in their past eight games.

Mikko Koivu

Wild to retire Mikko Koivu's No. 9 jersey

Koivu will be the first player in franchise history to have his number retired.

Boebert-Omar - Flickr Gage Skidmore

Rep. Boebert refuses to apologize for Islamophobic comment toward Rep. Omar

A phone call Monday between the two lawmakers ended abruptly.

Patrick Peterson

Vikings place Patrick Peterson on COVID-19/reserve list

The Vikings cornerback said he was vaccinated in August.

flickr - thin ice warning - USFWS Midwest

'Numerous' reports of eager anglers falling through ice

Conditions are still unpredictable, and can vary even across a single body of water.


Minnesota health officials watching closely for omicron variant

Health leaders do not yet know how transmissible or severe the new variant is.

school bus stop pixabay

School bus driver charged in fatal hit-and-run will plead guilty

Another motorist told the driver to call 911, but he instead got on the bus and drove off, charges say.

Franconia Sculpture Park - Lorie Shaull - Flickr

5 outdoor destinations to explore around the Twin Cities

There's something for everyone on this list of overlooked spots.

Child mental health counseling

As pandemic continues, so do efforts to improve child mental health access

Children's Minnesota has announced it will open its first inpatient mental health facility for under 18s.

Dalvin Cook

Mixed reports on Dalvin Cook's injury status

The Vikings running back could miss two games...or he could play Sunday.


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.

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.

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.