Authorities will not file criminal charges against a passerby who shot and killed a knife-wielding man who was attacking others caught up in a multi-vehicle crash in February on a busy Fridley thoroughfare, prosecutors announced Thursday.
“The evidence demonstrates the shooter had no reasonable ability to further retreat, given the physical surroundings, proximity of other people and the actions” of 33-year-old Simon M. Schiffler, a statement from the Anoka County Attorney’s Office read.
Because “the shooter had reason to believe he and others were in imminent danger,” the statement continued, “the shooting ... was a justifiable use of force under our law.”
The man who opened fire on Central Avenue at Medtronic Parkway did have a permit to carry his handgun in public, a law enforcement source with knowledge of the case said.
Prosecutors reviewed police reports, witness accounts and cellphone videos in reconstructing the rapidly unfolding sequence of events.
Schiffler, one of the drivers involved in the four-vehicle crash shortly after 4 p.m., left his truck and grabbed a woman who had also gotten out of her car after the wreck. He pinned her against a car and began groping and kissing her.
Schiffler then approached an occupied vehicle and began stabbing at the window, frightening 57-year-old Irvin Doyle behind the wheel.
Bystanders urged Schiffler to calm down, but to no avail.
A motorist nearby spotted Schiffler acting erratically, unholstered his gun, held it at his side and ordered him to stop. Schiffler raised his 4-inch knife and charged at the man.
The man fired three times when Schiffler was 3 to 4 yards away.
He died at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis. An autopsy revealed that he was struck by gunfire multiple times. Alcohol was detected in Schiffler’s system, a law enforcement report said.
Doyle, of Ham Lake, told the Star Tribune at the time that he thanked the gunman. “I told him he saved my life and probably a couple other lives. I actually gave him a hug.”
Robert Foley III, attorney for the shooter, said prosecutors made the correct decision. “My client is very relieved and is looking forward to resuming his life,” Foley said.
Schiffler had initially been identified as a man from Williston, N.D., but his online obituary said he was from Minneapolis.
The obituary also noted that he was born in Salt Lake City, graduated from Sauk Rapids High School and St. Cloud Community and Technical College and later cofounded a trailer and truck equipment dealership in Williston.