MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Police Officer Aaron Clouse will not be charged in the shooting death of Ricardo Torres, Jr. this summer in Olivia, the Blue Earth County Attorney’s Office announced Friday.
Clouse shot Torres in the early hours of the fourth of July, in an alley near the 800 block of Lincoln Avenue North. Torres, 32, was taken to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Attorney Patrick McDermott ruled the shooting to be justified.
McDermott wrote that around 2:20 a.m., Clouse was mounting a trail camera in the alley when he yelled “shots fired” on the radio and asked for assistance. A responding sergeant found Torres on the ground with a sawed-off shotgun in his hands.
At the scene, officials recovered four 9mm cartridge casings and Torres’ backpack, which contained two fake guns, a paintball gun, and a box of .22 pellets along with a few other items.
In his report, Clouse said he was investigating reports of vandalism and vehicle theft when he saw Torres, who he knew from previous contacts. Clouse said he called “Police stop,” but Torres kept walking. The officer added that he ordered Torres to drop his gun, but Torres turned back at him, raised his weapon, and responded “you drop the gun.”
Clouse said he feared for his life and fired multiple times in rapid succession.
In an autopsy, the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office found Torres had three gunshot wounds to the torso and a probable graze on the right thigh. His death was classified as a homicide.
Investigators spoke with a woman who had been seeing Torres for roughly a year. She said that for the past few days, Torres had said he intended to find Clouse. She said Torres had a court date for a domestic incident which Clouse had arrested him for, and that Torres was convinced that, recently, Clouse had been stalking him.
McDermott wrote that given the facts of the case, Clouse was “acting within his authority as a police officer” and his reaction was “reasonable and justified.”
“His conduct was in response to an apparent threat of death or great bodily harm,” he wrote. McDermott added that Clouse acted within the law in both pre-March 1, 2021 and post-March 1, 2021 use-of-force standards.
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