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BCA releases new details in Woodbury force incident

ST. PAUL — The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) has identified the people involved in a use-of-force incident April 22 in Woodbury. Donald Roche, 63, was shot multiple times during the incident. He remains hospitalized in serious condition.

The BCA has identified six law enforcement officers who used force during this incident.

• Woodbury police officer Scott Melander used less-than-lethal force. He has 27 years of law enforcement experience.

• Woodbury police officer Matthew Noren used less-than-lethal force. He has 19 years of law enforcement experience.

• Woodbury police officer James Stoffel fired his department rifle. He has 11 years of law enforcement experience and is on standard administrative leave.

• Cottage Grove police officer Benjamin Deitner used non-lethal force. He has five years of law enforcement experience.

• Cottage Grove police officer Matthew Sorgaard used less-then-lethal force. He has eight years of law enforcement experience.

• Washington County sheriff’s deputy Brian Krook fired his department handgun. He has 13 years of law enforcement experience and is on standard administrative leave.

According to the preliminary investigation, two Woodbury Police Department license plate readers came back with an alert that said both the vehicle and a person associated with the vehicle were wanted in connection to felony-level crime. When officers arrived, they found the vehicle unoccupied in a parking lot. A short while later, a man later identified as Roche came back to the car. Officers approached him and told him he was under arrest but Roche physically resisted arrest. He displayed what appeared to be a handgun and the officers backed off. Roche got back into his car and locked the doors, which is when the officers called for assistance from the Washington County SWAT Team. The team negotiated with Roche and used less-than-lethal force, including 40 millimeter and PepperBall chemical irritants, to get him to surrender. Roche got out of the vehicle, ignored commands from the officers, and again pulled out what looked like a handgun and pointed it in their direction. That’s when Stoffel fired his rifle and Krook fired his department handgun. Roche was struck by the gunfire. Officers provided medical aid at the scene until he could be taken to the hospital for treatment. No one else was injured during this incident.

BCA crime scene personnel recovered a pistol-style BB gun at the scene. There is body-worn and squad car camera video of this incident. BCA agents are reviewing all available video as part of their active investigation. Agents are also working to determine the exact nature of the alerts issued by the license plate readers and how they connect to the vehicle and Roche.

The Woodbury Police Department and Washington County Sheriff’s Office asked the BCA to investigate this incident. Once the investigation is complete, the BCA will present its findings without a charging recommendation to the Washington County Attorney’s Office for review.

 

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