A veteran Shakopee police officer's actions were justified last fall when he fatally shot a man who pointed a gun at him, the Scott County Attorney's Office has ruled.
The shooting occurred on the night of Nov. 9 at the front door of the home of the man, James P. Hanchett, 61, who later died at a nearby hospital.
The officer, 12-year veteran Thor Carlson, and another officer in her first month on the job and being trained by Carlson were at the home in the 800 block of Apgar Street in response to a fire alarm call and in full uniform.
Hanchett came to the front door after both officers knocked, and they saw "a gun being pointed directly at Officer Carlson," the report said, citing the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension's investigation.
Carlson fired several shots in response and struck Hanchett in the head and elsewhere.
"Given the facts of this situation," County Attorney Ron Hocevar said in his report released Friday, "this office concludes that the officers appropriately exercised the use of deadly force" within the law.
Carlson and his trainee, McKenzie Lampman, were equipped with body-worn cameras. The devices were not activated initially because the call was for a fire alarm, the report said.
The cameras were activated immediately after Carlson shot Hanchett. This allowed the cameras to capture the previous 30 seconds without sound and then the remainder of the incident with sound and video after the gunfire.
According to the BCA investigation:
The fire alarm sounded, and Hanchett did not respond to a telephone call from the alarm service.
Carlson and Lampman went to the home, where Carlson shined his flashlight into the house and both officers knocked on the front door. They both saw Hanchett moving about inside, and an outside light was turned on before he stuck a handgun out the door.
Carlson yelled "gun," Lampman drew her weapon, and Carlson fired three or four shots at Hanchett.
Under questioning by the BCA, Carlson said he thought the man was going to shoot him, the report said.
Both officers and others from the department gave immediate medical attention to Hanchett, who was shot in the head, chest and upper left arm.
An autopsy revealed that Hanchett had a blood alcohol content of 0.14 percent, nearly twice the level of legal intoxication had he been driving.
Hanchett worked as a carpenter and was a member of the Minnesota River Valley No. 6 Masonic Lodge, according to his obituary.