A Fairmont police officer has been cleared of any wrongdoing in the January shooting death of a 23-year-old man who confronted officers while wielding knives.
An investigation by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension determined that officer Craig Fowler was justified in using deadly force to protect himself during a domestic call on Jan. 20, Martin County Attorney Terry Viesselman announced Tuesday.
According to the BCA report, Fowler and his partner responded to a call about a woman being threatened at an apartment building in the 1200 block of Victoria Street at 2:20 a.m. When they got there, one officer could hear a woman crying and yelling for help.
As they forced open the apartment door, a man charged from the entrance with a “knife in each hand, held above his head,” the report said. One officer backed up, yelling for the man to drop the knives. Then the man turned and ran toward Fowler with the knives above his head.
Fowler drew his gun and fell to the ground as he tried to backpedal out of the man’s reach, the report said. He fired two shots, striking Nicholas D. Moore, who landed on Fowler. Moore died at the scene.
Officers reported that they had to remove a knife from Moore’s hand before starting CPR. One officer was treated at the Fairmont hospital for minor injuries.
Viesselman said physical evidence and witness statements from residents corroborated the officers’ version of events.
Fairmont, a town of about 10,000, is the county seat of Martin County, in south-central Minnesota.