To hear a friend tell it, Donald Gartner, a talkative guy, was well-suited to a job as a telephone fundraiser.
Among the clients: the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association.
But Gartner, 34, had run afoul of the law, too, having been convicted of second-degree murder in 1992 and of lesser crimes as well, before he was shot to death Tuesday night by St. Paul police officers who said he lunged at them with a knife.
On Wednesday, the officers -- Jessica Phillips and Cory Kochendorfer -- were put on three-day paid administrative leave, police spokesman Tom Walsh said. A Ramsey County grand jury is likely to review the shooting, which is standard practice in such cases.
The officers, both two-year members of the force, have no discipline on their records, Walsh said. "They are just straightforward good cops," he said.
Phillips and Kochendorfer each fired two shots at Gartner in front of the East Side home he had shared off and on with his girlfriend, Gloria Telin. The officers, suspecting he had assaulted Telin, ordered him repeatedly to drop the knife before shooting, Walsh said.
Gartner's friend, Jeremy French, 30, of St. Paul, with whom he'd raised money for law-enforcement groups until Gartner left the job about five months ago, questioned why officers fired on someone with a knife. Across the street from the shooting in the 500 block of York Avenue, neighbors wondered why Gartner wasn't simply shot in the leg.
Walsh said that Gartner brandished a lethal weapon, and that by ignoring officers' commands and then "running at them," he gave officers no choice but to heed training that calls for them to "shoot to stop." And that, he said, means "you shoot at the center mass."
Given that a first shot typically doesn't stop an attacker, Walsh added, officers are trained to shoot twice. He did not know, he said, how many times or where in the body Gartner was struck.
The Ramsey County medical examiner's office is conducting an autopsy, and its findings, plus those of an internal police review, are to be forwarded to the county attorney's office for review, most likely by a grand jury.
Officers first went to the address on a report of men fighting with pipes about 7:10 p.m. The officers encountered Gartner and Telin, who had scratches and a bruise on the side of her head, Walsh said.
At 11 a.m. Wednesday, blood still was pooled on a sidewalk inside the front fence of the house until a Telin family relative hosed it clean.
Gloria Telin was not home or available to comment, the relative said.
According to police records, and interviews Wednesday with friends, Gartner had problems related to drugs.
Police have logged 19 incidents at the York Avenue residence since January 2006.
French said Gartner had told him he was hoping to enter drug treatment soon, but French declined to discuss the extent of his friend's problems. He added that he knew, too, that Gartner was having troubles in his relationship with Telin and stayed overnight at French's house on Monday, but he again declined to elaborate.
He preferred to remember Gartner as the "real friendly guy" who'd enter a room talking, and would keep on talking, about sports, whatever, "so you couldn't get a word in."And he'd give you the shirt off his back," French's girlfriend, Carol Fairbanks, added.
Poll: Who should be the next Twins starting pitcher to lose his job?