Brian G. Fitch Sr., a career criminal, was already wanted by authorities before he was shot by police and arrested in the killing of a Mendota Heights officer.
Brian G. Fitch Sr. knew he was headed back to jail — and mostly likely to prison — if he was ever stopped for even a minor traffic infraction and police figured out his identity.
Shortly after noon Wednesday, when a Mendota Heights police officer stopped Fitch as he drove through West St. Paul, he had three active warrants for his arrest: One stemming from a conviction for a violent home burglary, one from a conviction for terroristic threats and assault and another from June, when he failed to appear at a court hearing on first-degree drug charges.
Now, in the aftermath of the shooting death Wednesday of Scott Patrick, the officer who stopped him, Fitch, a 39-year-old career criminal, will be facing new charges in both Dakota and Ramsey counties.
Dakota County Attorney Jim Backstrom and Ramsey County Attorney John Choi plan to hold a joint news conference at 2 p.m. Friday in Dakota County to announce charges against Fitch in Patrick’s death and for his alleged shootout with officers in St. Paul Wednesday night in the minutes before his capture. The news conference will be held at the Dakota County Northern Service Center in West St. Paul.
The shooting of Patrick, 47, and the gunfight with police hours later, are the latest in a series of violent incidents involving Fitch that date back 15 years and include everything from assault and terrorist threats to kidnapping, court records show.
The state Department of Corrections said Thursday that Fitch served almost three years in prison, from 2000 to 2003, for a 1999 assault conviction. Sarah Latuseck, a corrections spokeswoman, said that in 2000, Fitch was convicted of escape. Details of those charges were not available Thursday.
Washington County Sheriff Bill Hutton was an Oakdale police captain when he arrested Fitch in August 2003 after a home invasion in that city. “I just remember it being a very aggressive call, very violent,” Hutton said Thursday.
According to the criminal complaint, Fitch and another man and a woman burst into the home at 3:40 a.m. as the woman who owned the home slept in her bedroom. Her three children were asleep on the living room floor.
Another man was also in the home and still awake. Fitch, holding a knife, ordered the man to open a safe. Fitch ripped two necklaces from the man’s neck and beat him.
In 2004, Fitch was convicted of first-degree burglary and given a stayed 41-month prison sentence in connection with the crime.
Over the next 10 years, he served about 20 months in custody that was applied to that sentence.
He committed probation violations in 2010 and 2011, but it wasn’t until June 2013 that he was sent to prison.
He was released to Dakota County on an unresolved first-degree drug case on Feb. 5, 2014, and sent to a residential treatment center later that month.
Latuseck said Thursday that Fitch was still on supervised release from the state Department of Corrections in June, when he violated conditions of his release. A warrant was issued June 2 for his arrest. Fitch was a fugitive until police arrested him Wednesday night.
The second warrant issued dates to a violent incident in 2012 in West St. Paul, where Fitch kidnapped a man at knife point and beat him after accusing him of having a relationship with his girlfriend. Fitch threatened to cut the man’s throat from ear to ear, then stripped him of his clothes and money and left him on the West Side of St. Paul, court records said.
He was charged with terroristic threats, assault and false imprisonment. He pleaded guilty to terroristic threats and fifth-degree assault and was given a stayed 36-month prison sentence.