A St. Paul man was charged Monday with second-degree attempted murder and first-degree assault for allegedly firing an air rifle at police during an apparent "suicide by cop" standoff on Friday.
Robert S. Wood, 53, was charged in Ramsey County District Court for allegedly firing four shots at officers, striking St. Paul police officer Michael Talley in the right cheek three inches below his eye. The officer was treated and released from Regions Hospital for an injury authorities described as "serious."
Wood allegedly used a Benjamin Trail XL .25-caliber air rifle he had purchased online.
At a news conference Monday, Ramsey County Attorney John Choi, Police Chief Thomas Smith and Police Federation President Dave Titus said the gun is a dangerous weapon that could have killed the officer.
Talley, an 18-year-veteran of the force, is expected to make a full recovery. Choi said a background check is not required to sell the air rifle that was allegedly used in the attack.
Talley and Melissa Leistikow, a recruit, went to Wood's home on Lyton Place near the Oakland Cemetery about 2 p.m. Friday on a call for a welfare check.
Wood allegedly threatened officers several times and stabbed a police dog with a knife before surrendering after 2½ hours. The dog was not injured because Wood had not unsheathed the knife.
"Woods [sic] continued to antagonize police and tried to lure police to approaching him," the charges said. "Woods yelled things like, 'Just shoot me and get this over with.' "
According to the complaint: Wood's girlfriend alerted Wood's psychiatrist that Wood was talking about committing suicide. The psychiatrist called police and warned them that Wood could be attempting "suicide by cop."
When police arrived at the home, Wood pushed his girlfriend out of the house, then exited his house several times, holding a hunting knife and telling police to "[expletive] off," the complaint said. At one point, an officer heard a whizzing, snapping sound that was allegedly a shot fired by Wood. The officer warned Talley.
The charges said "Woods [sic] came out of the house, pointed at officer Talley, and said, 'I see you and I'm going to shoot you!' " Wood then retreated inside. The officer heard another snapping sound and saw Talley grab his face and yell, "I'm hit!"
Ramsey County District Judge Patrick Diamond ordered a psychiatric evaluation of Wood when he made his first court appearance Monday. Bail was set at $250,000.