A Maple Grove police officer was justified in shooting and wounding a man armed with a knife, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said on Friday.
“Officer Jeffrey Albers appropriately used deadly force because he and his partner faced death or great bodily harm from the then 50-year-old DeWayne Burlingham on the night of Feb. 7,” Freeman’s office said in a statement to the news media.
Albers fired twice, hitting Burlingham in his abdomen, right forearm, and right leg. Burlingham was eventually released from the hospital.
According to the county attorney’s office, Albers and another Maple Grove officer, David Anton, were sent to Burlingham’s home on Trenton Lane “on a call for assistance.” The two officers were aware they had been there in the past for a mental health crisis.
Burlingham let the officers into the split-level house but then went into the kitchen, grabbed a knife and started to poke himself in the eye with the knife tip, according to the County Attorney’s Office summary of an investigation, conducted by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
Anton ordered Burlingham to drop the knife, but he did not, so Anton fired a stun gun at him, Freeman’s office said. But Burlingham did not let go of the knife and began to cut his stomach with it. Both officers said he asked them to kill him. Burlingham moved toward Albers, still carrying the knife, and audio from the stun gun and squad car camera recorded the officers telling Burlingham “numerous times to stop and drop the knife,” the County Attorney’s Office said.
Fearful the man would stab him, Albers shot Burlingham, who stayed on his feet and began stabbing himself in the throat. However, he no longer was moving forward. Eventually, another Maple Grove officer, Darren Struckmann, who had arrived at the scene, subdued Burlingham with a stun gun, and Burlingham was disarmed, handcuffed and administered first aid. He was hospitalized and eventually recovered from his injuries.