A 34-year-old man with a history of mental illness was sentenced to the maximum of 20 years for shooting and wounding two South St. Paul police officers during a confrontation outside his group home.
Dustin A. Bilderback’s term for the encounter in July 2018 followed his guilty plea in Dakota County District Court to two counts of attempted first-degree murder in connection with the shooting of officers Todd Waters and Derek Kruse in the 500 block of N. 12th Avenue.
With credit for time served, Bilderback will be incarcerated for the first 12 years of his sentence, with the balance on supervised release. His sentence begins at the Minnesota Security Hospital. He is subject to being transferred to prison at a date yet to be determined.
Waters was shot in the back, neck and arm, and Kruse in the leg. Another officer at the scene suffered injuries unrelated to the gunfire, which also struck a squad car.
The County Attorney’s Office said that Bilderback’s sentence was the longest allowed under state guidelines.
Bilderback was supposed to meet with a mental health case worker at the apartment complex the morning of the shooting. He missed the appointment, prompting staff to report him as missing.
He had been committed to the St. Peter Security Hospital as mentally ill and dangerous, but he was on a provisional release at the Everyday Living group home. Bilderback returned to the group home about 12:50 p.m. and met with the case worker.
When Bilderback and the case worker left the home, they encountered three officers called to the scene for a welfare check on Bilderback.
As officers and the case worker discussed whether to place Bilderback on a three-day mental health hold, he retrieved a shotgun from his car and fired at the officers. Officers Dennis Brom and Kruse returned fire but did not strike Bilderback, who soon surrendered.