St. Paul police identified the man they shot and killed Monday as 20-year-old Melvin D. Fletcher Jr.
Fletcher, 20, of Brooklyn Park, was fatally shot by at least one officer after allegedly robbing the Kowalski's Market at 1261 Grand Av. Police also identified the officers involved as Theodore Mackintosh, an 11-year veteran of the force, and Jeffrey Thissen, a 10-year veteran.
Neighbors said Fletcher was a good person and was attending a technical college.
"This wasn't like him," said a sobbing Jackie Johnson, who lived next door. "Oh please, Junior, tell me you didn't do it!"
"He's not that kind of kid," said neighborhood block captain Sharon Harper.
Harper said Fletcher was friendly and well-mannered. But court records show one troubling event in his young life.
In 2008, Fletcher and a Hopkins High School friend, Anthony DiLoreto, robbed a Bremer Bank in Danbury, Wis. Fletcher was 16 at the time. He was tried as an adult, and pleaded guilty to robbery with threat of force, a felony.
According to court documents: DiLoreto, then 18, drove Fletcher to the bank. He waited outside as the getaway driver while Fletcher robbed the bank with a gun. Fletcher told police the gun belonged to DiLoreto.
DiLoreto heard sirens and fled, leaving Fletcher behind. Fletcher was arrested as he walked through a field. DiLoreto was arrested at home and later convicted of robbery with use of force and possession of burglarious tools.
Fletcher was sentenced to three years, but that was stayed for 10 years of probation.
The Monday shooting started as an 8:30 a.m. robbery call at Kowalski's. According to police, Fletcher pointed a gun at people in the store and took an undisclosed amount of money.
He fled through a rear entrance. Officers chased him on foot, and shots were fired as they followed him down a wooded area to Ayd Mill Road.
At least one officer shot Fletcher, according to a news release Tuesday. He was taken to Regions Hospital, where he later died.
Police have declined to reveal more details, including whether Fletcher made any threatening gestures toward the officers, who are on administrative leave.
It's the third officer-involved shooting this year for the department. In October, Victor T. Gaddy, 41, and Chue Xiong, 22, were fatally shot by officers on the same day. Gaddy was being investigated for narcotics, and authorities said he tried to pin an officer between two cars.
Xiong apparently stole a gun and crossbow from his parents' home. He was fatally shot in an exchange of gunfire that wounded one officer.
The cases, which are not related, remain under investigation.
Chao Xiong • 612-270-4708 Twitter: @ChaoStrib