The Ramsey County Attorney’s Office will reopen its review of the fatal police shooting of a Vadnais Heights man after the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) said Thursday that it overlooked a key piece of evidence in its investigation.
According to a BCA news release, the evidence was an audio recording from Darren Jahnke’s cellphone of his interaction with Ramsey County deputies and his subsequent shooting in Vadnais Heights in April 2017. An agent assigned to examine Jahnke’s cellphone reviewed data found on the phone but did not listen to audio recordings.
The BCA’s report to the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office, which reviewed the case for charging, did not receive the audio before they announced that they would not pursue charges against deputy Andre Rongitsch or the three other officers present when he shot Jahnke.
“This does not meet our standards for evidence examination and the BCA is reviewing what occurred to determine how to prevent this from happening again,” the statement said. “The BCA agent involved is no longer assigned to the unit that investigates officer involved shootings or homicides.” The office has turned it over to the Ramsey County attorney.
In a statement, a spokesman for the Ramsey County attorney said prosecutors have requested a written transcript from the BCA.
“While it is disappointing that this evidence was not presented to us, we appreciate that the BCA is taking steps to ensure that this does not occur again,” the statement said. “... Our prosecution review of this matter should be considered reopened. Once a decision has been made, we will notify the public and provide further information.”
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.
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.