MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Dustin Bilderback sat quietly at sentencing as his victims choked back the tears.

Among them was South St. Paul police officer Derek Kruse.

“No matter how many times I try to move past this horrific attempt at ending my life and lives of my partners, every day I see the images of the horrific event in my mind,” Kruse told the court.

Officer Kruse broke down, recounting what happened on July 19, 2018. Kruse and three fellow South St. Paul officers were called to a supportive housing group home to check on Bilderback’s welfare. He was living there after being released from the St. Peter Security Hospital.

Instead of speaking with Bilderback the officers came face-to-face with death when he grabbed a shotgun from his car and fired six rounds.

Kruse, fellow officer Todd Waters and a group home worker were all hit.

“That day is forever seared in my mind,” former officer Julie Bishop told the court.

Bishop went on to say that she was so shaken by the shooting that she had to retire from her job and end her police career. She now suffers with post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression.

“We had not even spoke to him that day and he decided to shoot at us,” Bishop said.

After the victim impact statements were read, Bilderback asked to address the court and his victims. He offered his apologies and said he accepts the consequences of his violent, irrational behavior.

“I was off my medication and using meth and I did not care about anyone but myself. I deserve this and I’m sorry for what I did,” Bilderback said.

Judge Karen Asphaug called Bilderback’s struggles with mental illness, a product of past neglect and trauma.

“The type of life that makes a heart break when we read your history,” Judge Asphaug said.

Asphaug then said for his psychological treatment and the public’s safety, Bilderback will be committed for a term of 240 months, the maximum under state sentencing guidelines.

His punishment will begin with treatment at a state security hospital. When it’s determined he can be released from treatment he will transition over to the Department of Corrections to serve the remainder of his sentence.

Bilderback will serve no less than 160 months in custody before he is eligible for supervised release.

Bill Hudson

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