Mpls. cop who shot stabbing suspect a decorated veteran

  • Article by: Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 3, 2012 - 10:29 AM

Stabbing suspect survives, will be booked in jail when he recovers, say police.

The Minneapolis police officer who shot a knife-wielding man Sunday morning is Larry Petersen, a decorated, 24-year member of the force, the department announced Monday afternoon.

Police also offered more details on what preceded the shooting of Robert John Yellow Wolf, who is hospitalized at Hennepin County Medical Center and is expected to survive.

About 8:45 a.m. Sunday, Yellow Wolf, 43, confronted a panhandler near Hennepin and Groveland Avenues and accused him of encroaching on his territory. Yellow Wolf allegedly slashed the man in the forehead several times, police said. Minutes later, Yellow Wolf began assaulting a former girlfriend who then called 911, according to police.

Petersen, who was near W. Franklin Avenue and Lyndale Avenue S., ordered Yellow Wolf to drop the knife, but Yellow Wolf refused and advanced, according to police. Petersen retreated, walking backward through two lanes of traffic. He then shot Yellow Wolf multiple times.

The number of shots, the location of Yellow Wolf's injuries and the distance between the two men at the time of the shooting was not released Monday because that information remains confidential as the investigation proceeds, according to Minneapolis police Sgt. William Palmer.

The Hennepin County attorney charged Yellow Wolf in the separate assaults on the officer and the panhandler.

Yellow Wolf, 43, has a history of nuisance crimes and assaults, with 36 arrests in Minneapolis since 2004, according to public records. He was charged Monday with a felony count of second-degree assault for the attack on the panhandler.

Petersen has been commended several times, including 18 letters of appreciation, four of them from the FBI. He earned the department's Medal of Commendation in 1989, the department's Award of Merit in 1993, and more Medals of Commendation in 1994 and 1999 for rescuing people.

He is on standard administrative leave while Sunday's incident is investigated.

MATT MCKINNEY

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