The man charged with shooting and wounding two South St. Paul police officers Thursday was being evicted from his apartment for possessing a shotgun and allegedly lashed out in anger.
Everyday Living, an organization that operates the apartment complex in question, said Friday that it was terminating Dustin A. Bilderback’s lease, and he grew “aggressive and dangerous.”
“In violation of the terms of his probationary discharge to our apartment building, and in violation of our strict policies and lease requirements, he kept a hidden firearm in the trunk of his car and began shooting as police arrived,” said a written statement released by Everyday Living.
Bilderback, 33, was charged Friday in Dakota County District Court with two counts of first-degree attempted murder and two counts of second-degree attempted murder.
Bilderback allegedly fired a shotgun at officers who responded to the scene in the 500 block of 12th Avenue N. about 12:56 p.m.
South St. Paul police on Friday said four officers were at the scene: Dennis Brom, an 18-year veteran; Julie Bishop, a 17-year veteran; Todd Waters, an 11-year veteran; and Derek Kruse, a 6-year veteran.
Police Chief Bill Messerich said Thursday that Waters was shot in the shoulder and hospitalized and that Kruse was struck near the leg but did not require hospitalization. Bishop suffered injuries unrelated to gunfire.
“As articulated in the criminal complaint, this was an incredibly violent and dangerous encounter that took place in our community yesterday,” said a statement on the police department’s Facebook page. The post included a photo of a squad car riddled with damage from a shotgun blast, both of its passenger windows blown out.
According to the criminal complaint: Bilderback was supposed to meet with a mental health case worker at the apartment complex at 11 a.m. Thursday. He missed the appointment, prompting staff to report him as a missing person.
Bilderback had been committed to the St. Peter Security Hospital as mentally ill and dangerous, but was on a provisional release at the time to the Everyday Living group home. The organization provides temporary housing for people with mental illness, addiction and traumatic brain injuries.
Bilderback returned to the group home about 12:50 p.m. and met with the case worker.
“…Defendant voiced his concern about returning to the hospital or police coming to the group home to get him,” the charges said.
Bilderback told the case worker he wanted a cigarette, and they both exited the home. They encountered three officers who had been called to the scene to conduct a welfare check on Bilderback.
The officers spoke with Bilderback. As officers and the case worker discussed whether to place him on a 3-day mental health hold, Bilderback walked to his car, followed by one officer.
Bilderback pulled a shotgun from the back seat of his car and fired at the officers, the charges said Waters was struck in the back, neck and arm. Kruse was struck in the leg.
Bilderback fired the break action shotgun six times, the charges allege.
Officers Brom and Kruse returned fire but did not strike Bilderback, who obeyed orders to drop his weapon and was arrested.
“Everyday Living is extremely saddened by the unexpected events that took place yesterday,” said the group’s statement. “Our thoughts are with the officers who were injured and their families and we’re hopeful for their fast recovery.”
The organization thanked the officers and emergency personnel who responded to the 911 call they placed.
Everyday Living said that its staff and tenants who witnessed Thursday’s events were “shaken” but safe. The organization announced plans for an internal investigation to ensure it was taking correct steps to keep tenants, staff and the community safe, and pledge cooperation with the police investigation.
“Everyday Living knows that we can be effective in helping people in need to improve their lives,” the group said.