The Ramsey County Attorney’s Office for the second time issued a decision clearing four Ramsey County sheriff’s deputies in the 2017 fatal shooting of Darren Jahnke after a key piece of evidence was initially missed by investigators.
The office first issued a decision in March but reopened the case in September after the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension revealed that an agent who reviewed Jahnke’s cellphone did not listen to an audio recording on the phone documenting the interaction with deputies and the shooting.
The recording was not submitted to the county attorney’s office for their first review of the case. The office issued a decision Wednesday clearing the deputies again.
Jahnke, 47, was shot April 16 inside an RV parked in the 3200 block of Fanum Road in Vadnais Heights. He died from a single gunshot to the back of the head.
The audio recording is consistent with statements provided by the deputies, and it supports a decision not to charge deputy Andre Rongitsch for firing the fatal shot or any of the other deputies at the scene, First Assistant Ramsey County Attorney John Kelly and Rick Dusterhoft, the office’s adult criminal division director, wrote in an Oct. 4 memo.
Deputies were investigating a sexual assault reported a few days earlier when they encountered Jahnke sitting in the driver’s seat of an RV. The reported assault had occurred in a similar RV parked at a different location in nearby Little Canada.
Jahnke, who had a warrant out for his arrest for probation violation, allegedly declined to identify himself during 22 minutes of questioning.
The deputies forced their way into the RV when Jahnke refused to surrender. He allegedly threatened the deputies with a bucket of feces and then ripped deputy Lisa Daly’s gun off her belt before he was shot.
“He’s got my gun!” Daly repeatedly screamed on the recording just moments before the shooting. “Shoot him! He has it! Shoot him now!”