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State statutes justify the use of deadly force by law enforcement to protect an officer or someone else from death or great bodily harm, among other reasons. In 2013, 22 officer-involved shootings were reported in Minnesota, resulting in eight deaths, according to the BCA. In 2012, 27 officer-involved shootings statewide left eight dead.
Family still in shock
Pfister’s stepmother said last week the family is stunned and “looking for answers.” Pfister, the mother of two children, is originally from Elkhorn, Wis. Her funeral will be held in Illinois next Saturday.
Hoffman, who has known Serbus since playing on an elementary hockey team, said his friend started drinking and using drugs at Osseo High School and often ran away from home. Then, according to records, he gained a long criminal record for theft, robbery and drugs. In 2006, he was charged with third-degree murder in the drug overdose death of a 20-year-old woman, but the charges were later dropped.
He sought help, attending a treatment center in Duluth with Chris Foster of Forest Lake. “When he was clean, he’s a totally different person,” Foster said Wednesday. “He was a nice, kind person. I’m just astonished by this.”
Two months ago, Serbus called Hoffman asking for help in paying for a bus ticket to the Twin Cities from Wisconsin and said his life was looking up, with a new job repairing cell towers. Hoffman said Serbus also said he wanted to attend addiction recovery meetings with him.
But last month, the couple, who had met at a New Year’s Eve party, again ran into police, attempting to steal a car from a Rochester car dealership.
According to the criminal complaint, the couple test-drove several cars and stole two car keys, with Serbus returning after the dealership closed to take one of the cars. Police arrested Serbus, who told them he had found the key and was trying to return it. But Pfister told police that he had stolen the keys and that the couple planned to leave a motel they were staying at in the car.
Olmsted County had two pending warrants on the couple. Hoffman said they were returning to Minnesota to face the charges. “They wanted to start a new life,” he said. “They had no reason to end their lives.”
Kelly Smith • 612-673-4141