A 41-year-old West St. Paul man accused of shooting at Inver Grove Heights police officers was acquitted of attempted murder but convicted of lesser felony charges.
After eight hours of deliberation, a Dakota County District Court jury Wednesday found Justin T. Amick not guilty of two counts of first-degree attempted murder, second-degree attempted murder, first-degree assault and second-degree assault.
Amick was found guilty of two other assault charges and illegal possession of a firearm. He remains in custody pending sentencing scheduled for Sept. 12.
“It is extremely fortunate that these officers and others in the area were not struck by this gunfire,” County Attorney James Backstrom said following the verdicts. “We are pleased the jury held him accountable for his actions.”
In an interview after his arrest in March 2012, Amick didn’t deny shooting at the officers but said he didn’t remember it, according to the charges filed against him.
The criminal complaint said two officers were sent to the 7500 block of River Road in Inver Grove Heights shortly before 5 a.m. after a resident reported hearing five shots. The officers found a car parked on the north side of 77th Street with a man in the driver’s seat and a woman on the passenger side.
As the first officer approached, he shouted several times for Amick to show his hands. But Amick reached out the window and aimed a handgun at the officer.
The officer heard a gunshot and saw the muzzle flash. As the officers ducked, the second officer heard another shot, the complaint said. Neither officer returned fire.
The complaint said the officers repeatedly yelled for the driver to drop the gun. Eventually, he threw the gun toward the first officer’s squad car, put the vehicle in reverse and sped away.
A short time later, someone from the Amick home in West St. Paul called 911. When one of the officers who had been at the shooting scene responded, he found two men and two women sitting on the curb. The officers recognized one of the women as the passenger in the car on 77th Street. One of the men sitting on the curb, later identified as Justin Amick’s brother, was bleeding from a bite wound to his cheek.
About that time, other officers found Justin Amick in woods near the home and arrested him.
The brothers’ mother told police that the brothers had fought that morning and that Justin Amick had bitten his brother, then fled into the woods.
Amick’s criminal record also includes two convictions for felony harassment, burglary, receiving stolen property, drug possession and numerous other crimes.