Veteran law enforcement officers from four agencies exchanged fire with an armed suspect Saturday, killing the 24-year-old man, who allegedly stole snacks from a Mankato gas station before fleeing police.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) on Wednesday identified the officers involved as deputy Paul Biederman of the Nicollet County Sheriff’s Office, Lt. Jeremy Brennan and deputy James Othoudt, both of the Blue Earth County Sheriff’s Office, and officer Chris Hendrickson of the North Mankato Police Department.
All remain on standard administrative leave.
Officers responded to a call of an armed robbery at a BP gas station off Hwy. 169 on Saturday afternoon. The BP clerk reported that the suspect, identified as Austin D. Heights, had fled on foot toward the Kiwanis Recreation Area. He boarded a rubber raft and began floating north on the Minnesota River, authorities said.
A shootout ensued, leaving Heights dead at the scene. Police recovered two firearms.
None of the law enforcement officers were wearing body cameras, the BCA said.
A family friend told the Star Tribune that Heights was mentally ill and had a fear of police.