Roseville resident: 'Hit the floor! They're shooting!'

  • Article by: CHAO XIONG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 19, 2011 - 5:57 AM

Roseville police, responding to a 911 call, shot and killed Wayne Malone as he brandished a gun at his door.

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Building caretaker David Spriggs pointed out a bullet hole in his hallway Thursday night at his apartment building on the 600 block of Larpenter in Roseville, Friday, November 18, 2011.

Photo: Glen Stubbe, Star Tribune

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Roseville police were called to Wayne 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.

Police made another visit on Thursday night, but this time they shot the 55-year-old dead.

David Page, who lives across from Malone's unit, was home when police arrived at 8:27 p.m. after a 911 call made by a woman who sounded like she was being choked.

"I heard them say, 'Put the gun down,'" Page said Friday.

Police repeated the order two or three times, Page said, before firing about a half-dozen shots.

"Hit the floor! They're shooting outside!" Page ordered everyone in his apartment.

Minutes later Page and his girlfriend, Erica Brown, stepped over Malone's body, sprawled in the hallway, after being told to leave by police. Neither slept all night.

"Every time I closed my eyes, I saw the body," Brown said. "I'm still shook up."

A woman who was crying had called 911 from Malone's apartment at 8:22 p.m., according to police. The caller sounded as if she could not talk or breathe, and the call was disconnected. A dispatcher unsuccessfully tried to call the woman back, said Roseville Police Chief Rick Mathwig.

Two squads arrived at the building at 655 Larpenteur Av. W. The officers approached the apartment and Malone exited, brandishing a gun, police said.

Malone refused repeated orders to drop his gun, and both officers fired at close-range. Malone did not return fire. He died at the scene.

A preliminary autopsy showed that he was shot once in the chest and abdomen. The full report could take weeks pending toxicology testing.

The officers involved, Grant Dattilo and Joe Adams, were put on administrative leave, which is standard practice.

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 lives down the hall.

He would also stand outside his apartment at attention for two to three hours, never breaking his stance, Page said.

"He was a little weird," Brown said.

Page said that on one occasion he saw Malone carrying a gun in a holster. Brown said she saw him with handcuffs and what appeared to be a Taser.

Page and Brown said Malone escorted his wife to her car every morning. He watched as she got in and then would walk to the front of the building and watch her drive off. When she returned from work, he'd flag her into the parking lot with a flashlight, Brown said.

The couple's college-age daughter was always greeted outside by either Malone or her mother, and had to be escorted inside, they said.

"It looked like they were living in terror," Page said, his voice cracking. "It was like you could see fear in their eyes. [The daughter] looked like that all of the ... time."

Police would not say whether they believe the women were victims of domestic abuse. Neither was treated for injuries Thursday, Mathwig said, declining to reveal who they think made the call.

Spriggs, the caretaker, said he never noticed any alarming behavior from Malone. "Wayne was a good guy," he said.

But police and Page and Brown said they had less favorable interactions with the man. On his patrols, Malone would flash his light into arriving cars, asking drivers what they were doing, Brown said.

Police have made other visits to Malone's apartment:

• On Feb. 19, 2010, police went looking for a wanted suspect who was allegedly living with Malone. Malone charged out of the unit waving his arms and fists and was shocked with a stun gun. He was taken to Regions Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.

• On Aug. 6, police were called there because Malone was unconscious. He was combative with paramedics. He was restrained and taken to Regions with a blood-alcohol content of 0.27 percent.

• On Aug. 18, Malone threatened to kill people in the building. He was taken to the hospital for a 72-hour psychiatric evaluation.

Malone was never arrested in those cases, and the Aug. 18 incident was treated as a mental health issue rather than a criminal matter, Mathwig said.

Chao Xiong • 612-270-4708 Twitter: @ChaoStrib

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