Minnesota jury acquits sheriff’s deputy in shooting death

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STILLWATER, Minn. (AP) — A Minnesota sheriff’s deputy was acquitted of second-degree manslaughter on Thursday in the 2018 fatal shooting of a suicidal man who held a gun to his own head as he knelt in the street during a 40-minute standoff with police.

Prosecutors said Washington County Sheriff’s Deputy Brian Krook acted with culpable negligence and created an unreasonable risk when he shot 23-year-old Benjamin Evans on April 12, 2018. Defense attorneys argued that Evans, an emergency medical technician and probationary firefighter, wanted to die and knew that he would live if he just put down his weapon.

Minnesota Public Radio News reported that the jury reached its verdict after deliberating for a total of seven hours.

Krook testified that he feels horrible about shooting Evans, but that he had no choice because his life and the lives of other officers were threatened. Krook told jurors he felt threatened even though Evans said repeatedly that he didn’t want to hurt officers.

“People say that to give you a false sense of security. It’s not reassurance for me,” Krook said. While Evans had been holding the gun to his own head, Krook, 32, said, “Bullets don’t just stop after they go through someone.”

Krook was among officers who responded to a report of a suicidal armed man in Lake Elmo, about 19 miles (30 kilometers) northeast of Minneapolis. When deputies first arrived, they found Evans kneeling in an intersection, with a gun to his head, according to court testimony.

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