A Hennepin County grand jury on Thursday cleared Orono police officers in the fatal shooting of a 30-year-old St. Anthony man.
The grand jury’s no-bill decision clears the officers of any wrongdoing in the death of Ted C. Hoffstrom, who shot and killed a prominent Orono doctor before police shot him Nov. 15.
State statutes justify the use of deadly force by law enforcement to protect an officer or someone else from death or great bodily harm, among other reasons.
Hoffstrom confronted Orono police after shooting physician Stephen Larson, 74, inside his home with a semiautomatic handgun. Police said that “diligent attempts to negotiate” with Hoffstrom, a 2009 University of St. Thomas law school graduate, failed before he was also shot.
Police said that Hoffstrom had expressed hostility toward Larson, who founded a medical group in Edina and Burnsville and was a well-known expert on pelvic surgery, because of how he believed the doctor had treated his mother in an undisclosed medical situation. According to state birth records, Larson was not the primary doctor at Hoffstrom’s delivery in 1983.
The four Orono officers involved in the shooting were Police Chief Correy Farniok, officer Brad Schoenherr, officer Paul Hooper and officer Joshua Needham.
A grand jury made the same decision in March in a Minnetonka officer-involved shooting. And last month, a Star Tribune review of records from the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension showed that law enforcement’s use of deadly force was justified in 82 of 83 shootings in the past decade.
The county is still reviewing a Feb. 7 officer-involved shooting on Hwy. 212 in Eden Prairie that killed Matthew Serbus, 36, originally from Maple Grove, and Dawn Pfister, 34, of Elkhorn, Wis.; the couple had led police on a high-speed chase and emerged from their car with a knife before they were shot on the highway.