The man shot and killed by a Plymouth police officer inside an Arby’s restaurant Thursday night had been suffering from a mental health crisis shortly before his death, according to sources with knowledge of the case.
The 31-year-old man called police from the restaurant about 8:20 p.m. saying he needed help dealing with a crisis, sources said. At the same time, an Arby’s employee called 911 about a disturbance at the fast-food restaurant at 10205 6th Av. N.
Officer Amy Therkelsen responded and received information while on the way that the man had a weapon and was inside the restaurant, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS). When she arrived, two people were attempting to subdue the man.
When he did not immediately follow Therkelsen’s commands, she deployed her Taser, but it proved ineffective. She attempted to subdue the man physically, and a fight ensued during which he tried to remove her weapon from its holster, the DPS said.
Therkelsen gained control of her gun and fired at the man, killing him, according to the preliminary investigation. No other weapons were recovered from the scene.
Another officer, Christopher Hendrickson, arrived just before the shooting occurred. He and others witnessed the shooting.
The Hennepin County medical examiner’s office hasn’t released the identity of the man.
Plymouth Police Chief Michael S. Goldstein referred questions to the DPS’ Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA). Asked if the department had previous encounters with the man killed, Goldstein said only, “He was not a stranger to us.”
More than a week before the man was killed, his grandparents had called Plymouth police for assistance because he was having mental health issues, sources said. When they couldn’t help, they took him to a hospital for treatment, sources said.
Shortly after his release, the man ended up at Arby’s and was shot during the confrontation, sources said.
Therkelsen, who has been with the Plymouth Police Department for seven years, was placed on standard administrative leave. Hendrickson has been with the department for eight years.
Ryan Garry, Therkelsen’s lawyer, said Friday evening that the investigation is ongoing, but “my client acted absolutely appropriately given her training in this life-and-death situation.”
Interviews with the officer and witnesses are not yet complete, the DPS said. After the investigation, DPS-BCA will turn its findings over to the Hennepin County attorney’s office for review.
The Arby’s reopened for business around 11:30 a.m. Friday.
A shift crew was instructed by a manager not to discuss the shooting with reporters who had already arrived on scene. Some workers present at the time of the shooting were offered counseling, according to an Arby’s spokesman.
The shooting was a topic of conversation at a Cub Foods in an adjacent shopping center. Two shoppers inside the grocery store quizzed one another for any new details about the incident.