The man who kept law enforcement at bay for nearly 20 hours last week in a Duluth neighborhood was shot to death while pointing a gun at officers, the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) said on Tuesday.
The BCA said that David J.W. Conwell, 37, of Duluth, exchanged gunfire twice over the long-running standoff at a home from Thursday night into Friday afternoon and killed a police K-9 during one of the encounters.
According to the BCA's preliminary investigation:
A call to 911 sent Duluth officers to the scene about 8:30 p.m. on a report of a suspected "physical domestic," police said at the time. Officers spoke with a woman who lived in one of the house's apartment units and could not determine whether an assault took place but did learn that Conwell was inside and had warrants for his arrest.
They entered the apartment and found Conwell in a closet. As the K-9, Luna, went toward Conwell, he fired a shotgun at the officers and fatally wounded the dog just before 10 p.m. The officers returned fire and retreated but did not wound Conwell.
Over many hours, Duluth's tactical response team (TRT) tried to contact Conwell and used "chemical irritants" numerous times in hopes of flushing him out. Nearby residents were evacuated as officers set up a perimeter around the block, police said.
About 3 a.m. Friday, TRT members entered the home. Conwell emerged from a bedroom closet and began shooting. Officers returned fire and retreated, again without wounding Conwell.
The Duluth Police Department told residents to stay away from the area — in the Lincoln Park neighborhood near 24th Ave. W. and W. Fourth St. — about 6:40 a.m., warning the suspect is "dangerous, armed and uncooperative."
Early Friday afternoon, the St. Louis County Sheriff's Office emergency response team took over, the BCA said. Team members went inside about 4 p.m. and determined Conwell was in a second-floor closet.
They removed a section of the exterior wall of the closet. Conwell jumped through the hole onto the porch and pointed his gun at the deputies. Two deputies fired their rifles, and two deputies fired less lethal rounds, striking Conwell.
Deputies provided medical aid, but Conwell was pronounced deceased at the scene. BCA crime scene personnel recovered a gun nearby.
Portions of the incident were captured on Duluth Police Department body cameras. Once the investigation is complete, the BCA will provide its findings without recommendation to the St. Louis County Attorney's Office for review.
Also Tuesday, the BCA released the identities of the law enforcement personnel who used force during the entire standoff.
From the Duluth Police Department: Sgt. Mike Erickson and officers Dean Bauers, Logan Goss, Aaron Haller and Ian Johnson.
From the St. Louis County Sheriff's Office: Sgts. Miles Bruggman and Benjamin Fye, and deputies Troy Nichols and Martin Thorne.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482