A cycle of abuse and terror

Monday's shooting, in which a North St. Paul officer died, brought to an end Devon Dockery's years of abuse and threats against wife.

Devon Dockery's cycle of domestic abuse, terroristic threats and other crimes is well documented in a stack of criminal complaints and at least four orders for protection his wife filed against him in the past nine years leading up to Monday's deadly shooting of North St. Paul police officer Richard Crittenden.

Stacey Terry, 39, lived at the Aspen Village apartments at 2253 Skillman Av. in North St. Paul, where Crittenden was killed while responding to yet another call about a violation of an order for protection.

In the latest order for protection, filed in May, Terry said Dockery threatened to "break me and everything else in my apartment." That was May 15.

The next day, she wrote, Dockery threatened to kill her and said "he won't make the mistake his brother made."

Dockery's brother, Anthony Lavelle Edwards, turned himself in after killing his girlfriend in 2002. He is serving a 35-year prison sentence.

Dockery was arrested May 18 and on Aug. 26 for violating the order. North St. Paul police responded to Terry's apartment again Sunday but he was gone by the time officers arrived.

Investigators for the record have declined to reveal what they know so far about the deadly events inside the apartment. However, the St. Paul Pioneer Press is reporting this morning that Crittenden was shot with his own gun while struggling with Dockery, who lunged at his estranged wife and the slain officer with a burning towel or rag.

Crittenden pushed the woman in the apartment out of harm's way, leaving himself vulnerable for Dockery to ambush him, grab his handgun and shoot him, the Pioneer Press reported, citing a law-enforcement source familiar with the investigation.

The wounded Maplewood police officer fatally shot the suspect, the newspaper’s report went on to say, in an exchange of gunfire.

The Pioneer Press said its report is based on preliminary witness accounts from the Maplewood officer and Dockery’s estranged wife, Stacey Terry.

"Please remember that we are only 36 hours from a very chaotic and tragic experience," said North St. Paul Police Chief Tom Lauth during a brief Tuesday news conference.

"An officer unnecessarily lost his life. His family is grieving. Our family is grieving."

Crittenden, who was known to wear his bullet-resistant vest, was assisted on the call by an officer from Maplewood. Within minutes of the officers' arrival at the apartment, there was a struggle. Crittenden and Dockery were dead. The Maplewood officer was shot in the arm and later treated at Regions Hospital and released. Her name has not been released.

Lauth said the Maplewood officer fired her gun, but he did not say whether the suspect was armed when the officers arrived.

Doug Neville, a spokesman for the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which is heading the investigation into the shooting, said the officer was interviewed Tuesday and her name is expected to be released when interviews are complete. She is currently on leave, which is standard procedure.

Autopsies on Crittenden and Dockery were performed Tuesday.

A history of threats

In a criminal complaint filed Aug. 27, North St. Paul officer Dustin Nikituk was called to Terry's apartment about 9:30 p.m. Aug. 26. Dockery was lying on the living room floor watching TV.

When police asked Dockery about the order for protection, he said, "That's old. It's no good anymore."

Orders for protection generally are valid for two years from the date they are filed.

He was arrested and made his first appearance Aug. 28. His next court hearing was scheduled for Friday.

Terry also had filed orders for protection against Dockery in Washington County in November 2000, in Hennepin County in 2002 and in Ramsey County in April 2003.

In April 2003, Terry wrote that Dockery broke down the bathroom door at her apartment at 1574 Jessamine Lane in St. Paul and pointed a gun at her face for "about 30 minutes."

Dockery was convicted of possession of a firearm and sentenced to five years in prison.

'He just didn't care'

The firearm charge stemmed from a 2002 violation of an order for protection. In that case, he was ordered to have no contact with Carrie Wieland, the mother of four of his children.

Wieland, who was with Dockery for nine years, said their relationship ended, but they stayed in touch. Wieland said she and Dockery last spoke about two months ago while he was having problems with Terry.

Wieland said Dockery told her that with the death of his parents and a 19-year-old brother, and the incarceration of his older brother, "he had nobody left."

Wieland said she and her children, ages 13, 11, 9 and 6, found out about his death through the evening news.

Wieland admits her relationship with Dockery was volatile at times, but that he was never physically violent and was never known by her to own a gun.

"I think at that point he just didn't care," she said of Monday's shooting. "He's not that cold-hearted murderer that he looks like, he's not. ... My kids have his name."

Funeral to take place Friday

Services for Crittenden will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at Aldrich Arena, 1850 N. White Bear Av. in Maplewood. Visitation will take place Thursday from 4 to 8 p.m. at Sandberg Funeral Home, 2539 E. 7th Av. in North St. Paul.

The city of North St. Paul has set up a memorial fund for Crittenden. Donations can be made at any Anchor Bank or sent to the North St. Paul branch at 2700 7th Av. E., North St. Paul, MN 55109. Checks should be made to the Richard Crittenden Memorial Fund.

Pat Pheifer • 612-741-4992 Abby Simons • 612-673-4921

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