Man's killing by Roseville police is ruled to be justified

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 30, 2012 - 7:55 PM

He came at officers with realistic-looking handgun.

The .177-caliber pellet gun Wayne Malone displayed to Roseville Officers Joseph Adams and Grant Dattilo.

Photo: Provided by Roseville Police Department,

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Investigators have ruled that two Roseville police officers were "squarely within their rights" when they shot and killed a man last fall as he threatened them with what turned out to be a pellet gun.

The determination about the actions taken by officers Joseph Adams and Grant Dattilo at an apartment building on Larpenteur Avenue was made by the Washington County attorney's office and released Monday by Roseville police.

In declining to seek criminal charges against either officer in the killing of 55-year-old Wayne W. Malone, Washington County prosecutor Fred Fink said in a written summary that "the only reasonable conclusion to be drawn ... is that the officers fired on Malone in self defense and squarely within their rights. ... The facts of this case are so clear that it would be a waste of valuable public resources to convene a grand jury on this matter."

According to Fink's summary, Adams and Dattilo were sent to an apartment at 655 Larpenteur Av. on a 911 hang-up call on the night of Nov. 17. Adams noted that he had encountered a violent man at that address about a year earlier.

After knocking and announcing their presence, the officers were quickly met by an advancing Malone, a black pellet gun in his hand, "or what officers reasonably believed to be a black semi-automatic handgun," the summary said.

Retreating and repeatedly yelling for Malone to drop the gun, officers saw Malone raise the weapon "as if to shoot."

The officers fired eight shots, two of which struck Malone.

One day after the shooting, Police Chief Rick Mathwig said that the 911 caller sounded as if she could not talk or breathe, and the call was disconnected.

Police were called to Malone's apartment twice in August, once because he drank himself unconscious and the second time because he threatened to kill people in the building.

Neighbors said Malone, his wife and their grown daughter kept to themselves and lived protected, regimented lives. Malone often wore camouflage pants and a military-type jacket and patrolled outside the building, said caretaker David Spriggs, who lived down the hall.

Other neighbors said Malone would escort his wife to her car every morning. When she returned from work, he would flag her into the parking lot with a flashlight. The couple's college-age daughter was always greeted outside by either Malone or her mother and had to be escorted inside, the neighbors added.

Star Tribune staff writer Chao Xiong contributed to this report. Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

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