7/10/2017 4:15:00 PM Armed car-jacker victim of deadly force
Sheriff Rick Duncan, North Branch Police Chief Dan Meyer and Tiffani Nielson, MN State Patrol Communications called a news conference regarding the use of deadly force incident outside of Harris, Monday this week. News outlets gathered a few hours after the shooting, at 2 p.m. at Fireman’s Park on 440th in Harris.
A theft of a car in North Branch ended with one man dead in an officer-involved shooting Monday, July 10.
The MN Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has been called in to investigate, which is standard according to State Patrol Communications person Tiffani Nielson. Few details were available at a news briefing held Monday at 2 p.m. in Harris, near where the suspect was killed.
The incident unfolded gradually as State Patrol, Sheriff’s Dept. and North Branch Police were made aware of the as-yet unidentified victim.
First a call to police reported a suspicious person moving about a home on the 6000 block of Maple Street in North Branch. This report came in about 7:30 a.m. Monday.
North Branch Chief Dan Meyer said police believe the suspect was unsuccessful in securing a vehicle at this site.
The next place he was spotted was maybe a mile away, at Greenway and 379th, where according to Chief Meyer, the suspect approached a resident with a gun in his hand. He also had a seven-year-old girl with him, authorities said is his daughter.
He “carjacked” a 2014 Chevrolet Impala from this location and he headed north on the freeway after driving off-road through a yard to access I-35.
Local authorities put out an attempt-to-locate. Chief Meyer said the main concern was for the child and to make sure that she would be safe.
Authorities did not know if there was a court order or restrictions on the custody of the child.
They stated at the news conference Monday she was checked out by medical responders and had been returned to her family. It wasn’t clear if the mother and suspect had any domestic issues previously. Chief Meyer said the man is not a North Branch resident.
At approximately 10 a.m. the allegedly stolen car’s OnStar emergency assistance device relayed a call to 9-1-1. The suspect wanted authorities to come retrieve the young girl and he gave a site in Fish Lake Township for them to get the girl (near Harris.)
Details from BCA
The Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office identified the person who died in an officer involved shooting incident July 10 in Chisago County as Gregory Shawn Thrower, 39, of Kinston, North Carolina. Thrower died of multiple gunshot wounds.
In addition, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) has identified law enforcement who fired their weapons during the incident. All are on standard administrative leave.
Deputy Scotty Finnegan has been with the Chisago County Sheriff’s Office for 15 months. Deputy Tom Hanson has been with the Chisago County Sheriff’s Office for eight years. Investigator Cliff Sheppeck has been with the Chisago County Sheriff’s Office for 13 years. Sergeant Matt Beckman has been with the Chisago County Sheriff’s Office for 19 years. Sergeant Jason Foster has been with the Chisago County Sheriff’s Office for 16 years. Sergeant Kyle Puelston has been with the Chisago County Sheriff’s Office for 11 years. Trooper Travis Elmer has been with the Minnesota State Patrol for six years.
Chisago County deputies and North Branch officers responded to a 911 call of an armed carjacking on the 37000 block of Greenway Avenue in North Branch July 10. The carjacker, now identified as Thrower, had his seven-year-old daughter with him at the time. No one was injured in the carjacking. Sheriff’s deputies and the Minnesota State Patrol were unable to locate the vehicle or Thrower.
According to the BCA’s preliminary investigation, the vehicle's OnStar contacted the sheriff’s office just before 10 a.m., reporting that Thrower contacted them from the carjacked vehicle. OnStar transferred Thrower to sheriff’s dispatch and during the conversation that ensued Mr. Thrower made suicidal threats. He also asked law enforcement to come to his location to pick up his daughter.
When officers approached the area – a bean field near the intersection of Goose Creek Road and 460th Street in rural Fish Lake Township (near Harris) – Thrower emerged from an area of tall reeds about 30 feet from the officers, pointing a handgun at them. All seven officers on the scene fired their weapons, fatally striking Thrower. Thrower’s daughter was inside the carjacked vehicle about 30 feet away. She was uninjured.
The BCA is investigating the officer involved shooting incident at the request of the Chisago County Sheriff’s Office. The North Branch Police Department is investigating the carjacking incident.
The officers were not wearing body cameras. There is no squad video of the shooting.
This remains an active and ongoing investigation. When the investigation is complete, the BCA will present its findings to the Chisago County Attorney’s Office for review.