Minnetonka officers cleared of wrongdoing in shooting death of man
- Article by: Kelly Smith
- Star Tribune
- March 20, 2014 - 11:51 PM
A Hennepin County grand jury decided Thursday not to file charges against two Minnetonka police officers in the shooting death of 27-year-old Michael Tray.
On Oct. 23, officers shot and killed Tray, a St. Cloud State University graduate, at a Minnetonka apartment parking garage after responding to a report of a man carrying a cocked revolver.
Thursday’s decision clears the officers of any wrongdoing.
“While we’ve always believed our officers acted appropriately, we know that the grand jury decision doesn’t relieve the anguish of the family of Michael Tray,” Minnetonka Police Chief Mark Raquet said in a prepared statement. “Our officers train and prepare for all kinds of incidents, but a call resulting in a fatality is a scenario no police officer wants to have happen.”
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.
Tray’s family declined to comment Thursday but have said he had an antique .44 Magnum revolver, a family heirloom that Tray didn’t want to leave in his car. The Austin, Minn., native had no violent past and his family suspects the gun wasn’t loaded. But those details haven’t been released by investigators yet.
“No one has any closure,” said Rob Taylor, Tray’s friend and former college roommate. “It’s not that I want someone to pay for it, but I just want answers. He was such a special person, and it’s just not right.”
It was the first officer-involved fatal shooting in Minnetonka history. The officers, James Comings and Ryan Smith, had no citizen complaints or disciplinary action in their less than two years with the suburban department.
Kelly Smith • 612-673-4141
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