Minnetonka police name officers who shot 27-year-old Austin man

  • Article by: KELLY SMITH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 29, 2013 - 9:03 PM

The men, who have been with the department less than two years, have faced no complaints or disciplinary actions.

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Minnetonka police officers shot and killed a man in an apartment complex garage on Oct. 23 at the Claremont Apartments.

Photo: David Joles, Dml - Special To The Star Tribune

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As family and friends remembered Michael Tray on Tuesday, police released the names of the two officers who shot and killed the 27-year-old last week.

Tray was killed in the parking garage of Claremont Apartments last Wednesday by officers James Comings and Ryan Smith, who responded to a 911 call of a man carrying a cocked revolver inside the Minnetonka apartment building.

The officers haven’t had any citizen complaints or disciplinary action in their less than two years with the department. They were put on paid administrative leave after the incident, a standard procedure, and will return to work Wednesday, the Police Department said.

Comings has worked there for a year and a half after working for six years for the U.S. Border Patrol. Smith has worked there for about 16 months after previously working for three years as a detention deputy with the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, according to the department.

The case, the first officer-involved fatal shooting in Minnetonka history, remains under investigation by the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office.

The new details came on the day friends and family gathered at an Austin, Minn., church to mourn the death of the Austin native. Tray was a basketball and football player at Austin High School, where he graduated in 2004, his family said in his obituary. He graduated from St. Cloud State University this year with a biomedicine degree.

He “had an unparalleled zest for life and everything in it,” his obituary read. “With a blue sparkle in his eyes, he drew countless [people] into his life’s adventure. … All of us he left behind have been left with priceless gifts. The gift of humor, the gift of memories and the gift of living life — no matter how brief — to the absolute fullest.”

Police were called to the apartment complex at 10761 Smetana Road just before 8:30 p.m. on Oct. 23. Minutes later, police confronted Tray in the underground parking garage, where he was shot and killed.

Details about what prompted police to shoot and whether Tray’s gun was loaded have yet to be released.

Tray’s stepfather, Jim Greer, said last week that his stepson had been fixing up his late father’s house in Iowa, where he found a .44-Magnum revolver. After attempted robberies in the area, Tray hadn’t wanted to leave the heirloom behind while he visited his girlfriend at her Minnetonka apartment, his stepfather said. He said he had warned Tray to keep the gun in his car. He has no violent criminal past, records show.

According to the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, it’s at least the sixth officer-involved shooting death statewide so far this year.

 

Kelly Smith • 612-673-4141

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