MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The official Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigative report has been released in the case of a northern Minnesota carjacker who took his own life in January after a sheriff’s deputy opened fire.
On January 29, the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office reported that the suspect stole a car from a woman and her 16-year-old son in Pike Lake. They said he drove to Saginaw Union Station before getting out and running. The woman and her son were not injured.READ MORE: Minnesota Weather: After Severe Weather Chance Sunday Night, Monday's High Will Be Coolest Since May
The BCA report said that in the dark of night a K9 ranger followed the tracks and eventually led Kuhnly and his partner, Deputy Erick Johnson, to the edge of a tree line. Kuhnly said with the help of the moonlight he saw Jordon’s silhouette, lying down in the snow about six feet away and holding a black handgun to his head.
Kuhnly claims he told Jordan to drop the weapon and Jordan refused to follow commands. Kuhnly said before firing any of his own shots he heard a shot fired and could see Jordan’s hand move from his head to the side of his body. Kuhnly fired off one round and then a second, but neither round struck Jordan.
After holding his firearm on Jordon for a brief time, Kuhnly and his partner, approached Jordon, and removed the firearm from Jordon’s hand. The officers began applying first aid to Jordon but he later died on the scene.
After the incident Kuhnly shared that he was particularly concerned because less than a year prior, he had encountered an individual who was also holding a gun to his own head, but then very quickly pointed the gun at the officers and started firing. Kuhnly said he returned fire in that situation.
Initially, the sheriff’s office said the deputy used deadly force while using a canine to track the man in a wooded area. However, later, the medical examiner said 34-year-old Scott Michael Jordon of Duluth died at the scene of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension later identified Jason Kuhnly as the deputy who fired his service weapon. Kuhnly, a seven-year veteran with the department, was put on standard administrative leave as the BCA investigated the case for use of deadly force.READ MORE: George Floyd Square, Uptown Intersection Reopen To Traffic
The Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed that Jordon died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head and was not struck by law enforcement gunfire. The autopsy findings and investigative report concluded that the manner of death was suicide.
“There is no question that Scott M. Jordan died at his own hands from a single gunshot wound to his body. Although two shots were fired by Deputy Jason Kuhnly, neither shot struck Mr. Jordan,” read the report.
The medical examiner also confirmed toxicology results that indicated methamphetamine was present in Jordan’s body at the time of death.
On Friday, the BCA concluded that in regards to the Minnesota Statute Section 609.066, which details the permits to use deadly force by a peace officer, that Kuhnly was reasonable and lawful under the circumstances.
“Examining the ‘totality of the circumstances’ facing Deputy Jason Kuhnly, and also taking into consideration the conduct of Jordan in the carjacking that led to the final confrontation, along with taking into consideration Deputy Jason Kuhnly’s experience of less than a year earlier of being fired upon by a person who originally threatened suicide, and especially with the shot being fired first by Jordan, Deputy Kuhnly had the right and duty to use the amount of force reasonably necessary to meet the perceived threat,” said the BCA report.
St. Louis County Attorney Mark Rubin expressed his condolences to all the parties involved in the incident.
“This event and the ensuing investigation have been difficult for Mr. Jordan’s family, but also for the family of the mother and son, and for the law enforcement officers involved and their families. There is no denying the tragedy of situations such as this,” said Rubin.MORE NEWS: St. Paul's Sanneh Foundation Damaged In Overnight Fire
For those suffering from depression and suicidal thoughts, there is help available at the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. Call 1-800-273-8255. Also available is the hotline from the National Alliance on Mental Illness at 651-645-2948.
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