MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman will not pursue criminal charges in the death of Brian Quinones, the 30-year-old man shot by Richfield and Edina police last September.
“Our office received hours of video evidence from the Richfield and Edina police squad car cameras and from Mr. Quinones’ personal Facebook Live video,” Freeman said in a statement released Monday. “When Mr. Quinones left his car after leading police on a chase, he had a knife in his hand. Subsequently, he threatened several officers with the knife. Mr. Quinones refused police requests to stand down and refused to drop the knife.”
Quinones was shot and killed by police on the night of Sept. 7 in Richfield following a live-streamed vehicle pursuit that began in Edina. Officers say he confronted them with a knife after exiting the car.
“Under Minnesota law, it is clear that Officers Pedersen, Schultz, Stariha, Carroll, and Wenande’s use of deadly force was necessary, proportional, and objectively reasonable in the face of the apparent threat of death or great bodily harm, and no criminal charges are warranted,” Freeman said.
That night, officer Nicholas Pedersen stopped Quinones’ car after a chase from Normandale Frontage Rd. near 77th St. to 76th and Xerxes in Richfield. According to evidence, Quinones had been speeding and holding a cell phone to his face.
When Pedersen got out of his squad car, he had his gun drawn; Quinones quickly came up behind him, pointing a knife in his direction.
Richfield officer Dylan Schultz was next on the scene, arriving just as Quinones approached Pedersen with his knife. Pedersen said “drop the knife,” and Schultz got out of his car and ran up to Pedersen. He attempted to use non-deadly force to end this situation by tasering Quinones.
As Schultz approached, Quinones unexpectedly bolted towards Pedersen, who fired three shots back at him. He stopped shooting when he noticed other officers – Richfield Officers Macabe Stariha and Joseph Carroll, and Edina Police Officer Benjamin Wenande – joining him at the scene.
When Schultz discharged the taser, Quinones turned, pointed his knife at Schultz, and ran at him screaming “kill me, kill me!”
Stariha fired five shots at Quinones, who then raised his arms, dropped his head, made a slashing gesture, and lunged towards Carroll. Caroll shot once and Stariha fired three additional shots at Quinones. Quinones then moved closer to Wenande with the knife and Wenande fired a single shot at Quinones.
Quinones finally fell to the ground, dropping his knife. He was shot seven times, according to the Hennepin County Medical Examiner.
He left behind a wife and son and a wide circle of friends, some of whom protested officers’ use of force.
The day before he died, he had released an album of new songs on Soundcloud. The songs do not appear to foreshadow the deadly events to come.
The Richfield Police Department released the following statement in response to the no charges:
“On September 7, 2019, a police pursuit that began in Edina ended near the intersection of 77th Street East and Chicago Avenue in Richfield. The driver, Brian Jesus Quinones Rosario, was shot by officers from the Edina and Richfield Police Departments. Today, February 10, the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office announced that the five officers involved in the fatal shooting were justified in their use of deadly force and criminal charges will not be brought against them.
The incident deeply impacted the Quinones family, the officers involved, and our community. The Richfield Police Department and the City of Richfield understand this has been a long, challenging process. The Richfield Police Department is committed to working with our community as we begin healing from this tragic event.”
The Edina Police Department said in a statement:
The City of Edina and its involved Police Officers, Nicholas Pedersen and Benjamin Wenande, gave their full and complete cooperation to the Sheriff’s Office during the investigation.
“Investigations of officer-involved shootings are critically important; the results affect not only the involved officers, but also the department and the community,” said City Manager Scott Neal. “We appreciate the work of the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office and Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman.”