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Man Accused In Officer Shooting May Have Gotten Breaks From The Law

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(credit: CBS) Rachel Slavik
Rachel Slavik joined the WCCO team in October of 2010 and is thrill...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The man charged with shooting and killing a Mendota Heights police officer is being called a career criminal.

Brian Fitch Sr. is accused of shooting and killing Officer Scott Patrick during a routine traffic stop in West St. Paul Wednesday afternoon.  Fitch had three outstanding warrants during the alleged shooting.

When police arrested Fitch on Wednesday evening it was not his first run-in with the law.

According to court documents, Fitch has a criminal history spanning two decades.  He has felony convictions for assault, burglary and a history of fleeing police.

Court records also show over the last 17 years, Fitch didn’t serve any significant prison time.

In 1999, authorities arrested Fitch for felony assault.  He was sentenced to three years behind bars.

In 2001, Fitch escaped custody.  After his arrest and conviction he was sentenced to probation.

After a 2003 felony burglary conviction, a judge handed down a stayed prison sentence with time served in jail and probation.  He repeatedly violated that probation.

“He does have a bad record.  He’s obviously is a sociopath, which means he can not conform to society’s rules,” defense attorney Joe Tamburino of Caplan & Tamburino Law Firm said.

Defense attorney Joe Tamburino reviewed Fitch’s criminal past and found, while Fitch was sentenced to prison time for some charges, judges also gave him some breaks.

In 2012, Fitch helped kidnapped a man, held a knife to his throat, threatened to kill him and forced him to walk naked down a street injured and bleeding.  He was convicted of assault and terrorist threats.

A judge ordered jail time drug treatment and probation.

Fitch also has a history of fleeing police dating back to 2009.

A 2013 criminal complaint from Dakota County shows police needed to use a taser during an arrest.  He was later charged with drug possession.

“You would think even someone with half a brain would say after 10 years of this, I give this up. But obviously this guy never did,” Tamburino said.

While Fitch is now facing the potential of life in prison for charges of first degree murder, Tamburino believes the breakdown is not necessarily within the legal system but the community that helps a career criminal survive.

“But we know this, when they get out of prison someone is helping them get food, shelter, money, bail money and that’s what we have to try to change,” Tamburino said.

Fitch had three outstanding warrants when investigators say Officer Patrick pulled him over on Wednesday.

On Friday, prosecutors in Ramsey and Dakota Counties handed down 12 charges in connection with the shooting death of Officer Patrick.

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