State investigators have identified two police officers who shot and killed a Columbia Heights man brandishing a weapon during a domestic disturbance call early Tuesday morning.
The officers are Columbia Heights Sgt. Erik Johnston and Fridley officer Shawn Murphy.
Johnston has worked with Columbia Heights for 13 years, and Murphy has been with the Fridley force for a year, according to the Minnesota Bureau of Apprehension.
Both are on paid administrative leave.
The Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office identified the man killed as Michael Gerald Ray Kirvelay, 45, of Montrose. Kirvelay died of multiple gunshot wounds. An attorney representing one of Kirvelay’s sisters said family members believe he was armed with a BB gun.
The BCA continues to investigate the incident, including examining police body camera footage, which has not been made public. Columbia Heights was one of the first departments in the state to issue cameras to all 27 of its officers. They tiny cameras must be turned on during interactions with the public.
According to the BCA:
Shortly after 2:30 a.m. Tuesday, two Columbia Heights officers responded to a 911 call of a person with a gun at a cleaning service business on the 700 block of 40th Avenue NE in Columbia Heights.
Officers encountered Kirvelay in a hallway inside the main entrance to the building.
“At one point, Mr. Kirvelay produced a weapon and was threatening individuals with it,” according to a BCA news release.
The officers called for additional backup, which drew officers from Columbia Heights and Fridley.
“Mr. Kirvelay refused officers’ repeated calls to show his hands and at one point officers fired,” according to the BCA release.
Kirvelay was pronounced dead at the scene.
Attorney Patrick R. Burns said one of Kirvelay’s family members has hired him to investigate the shooting. Burns said two of Kirvelay’s sisters lived at the shop in Columbia Heights. One of those women called police.
“They were not in fear of him. They were fearful for him. They were concerned about him,” Burns said.
So far, the family’s request to see body camera footage has been denied, Burns said. The family questions whether police needed to use lethal force, Burns said.
When the BCA’s investigation is complete, the BCA will turn its findings over to the Anoka County attorney’s office for review.