The death of a Rochester police officer who was the subject of a criminal investigation appears to have been a suicide, authorities said Thursday.
Olmsted County Sheriff Kevin Torgerson said officer Mitchell Jensen, 49, was found dead of a gunshot wound to the head at a park pavilion in Rochester on Wednesday. A gun was recovered at the scene.
The criminal investigation that was initiated Tuesday after a complaint from a community member will continue despite the officer’s death, the sheriff said. He declined to characterize the nature of the investigation.
Jensen was placed on administrative leave Tuesday as the investigation started.
Rochester Police Chief Roger Peterson said Jensen was an exemplary officer who was with the force for nearly six years.
Felon on probation sought after rape
Police are looking for a violent felon on probation who is charged with raping a woman who felt “woozy” at a party in Golden Valley while another man held her down.
Hussein O. Ismail, 34, of St. Louis Park, was charged Wednesday with third-degree criminal sexual conduct in the assault of the woman a year ago in an apartment bedroom.
Ismail has yet to be arrested and was charged in Hennepin County District Court by warrant. Prosecutors issued the warrant, the criminal complaint said, because they feared Ismail would not surrender on his own upon being charged.
At the time of the alleged rape, Ismail was on supervised probation stemming from his conviction in April 2014 of third-degree assault and child endangerment.
According to this week’s charge:
The woman told police that she was at a party on Nov. 29, 2014, in an apartment on Rhode Island Avenue and drank something from the refrigerator that was similar to Kool-Aid. She went into a bedroom to call her boyfriend and “began to feel woozy,” the criminal complaint read.
Soon after, two men were in the bedroom with her. One of them held her down by her wrists and covered her mouth as the other man raped her.
The woman awoke the next morning in the same bedroom and had on only a shirt. The rest of her clothes were scattered about the room. Her cellphone was missing. Her sister took her to the hospital for a sexual assault exam.
A little more than three months later, a “sperm cell fraction” from the victim’s rape kit provided a DNA match to Ismail, whose DNA had been on file with authorities since the earlier assault conviction.
The woman identified Ismail in a photo lineup conducted by police as one of her attackers.
The charge against Ismail was not filed for roughly nine months after the DNA match identified him as the primary suspect because “there were still many aspects of the case to be put together,” said Joanne Paul, a crime analyst for the Golden Valley Police Department.
As for the identity or whereabouts of the man allegedly with Ismail, authorities “don’t know anything about the accomplice at this point,” said Chuck Laszewski, spokesman for the county attorney’s office.
Man sentenced for ID theft, false returns
A 29-year-old Bloomington man has been sentenced to nine-plus years in prison for stealing the identities of 465 people and filing false tax returns throughout the United States that inflicted extensive financial and emotional hardship upon his victims.
Ayotomide Ajifowobaje led a corps of co-conspirators in filing the false returns from May 2014, and possibly earlier, through January seeking nearly $2.2 million, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.
The IRS paid out about $340,000 on those returns in filings that were submitted in Minnesota, Georgia and elsewhere. Along with the prison time, Ajifowobaje’s sentence also calls for him to make full restitution.
Ajifowobaje, who pleaded guilty in federal court in Minneapolis July 24, bought from thieves stolen names, addresses, dates of birth and Social Security numbers of hundreds of individuals. He electronically filed fraudulent tax returns using his victims’ correct identity information but containing false W-2 information and withholding amounts.
Ajifowobaje then created fake e-mail addresses to track the status of the return and expected refund. He then bought hundreds of debit cards and activated them using the same stolen identities that he used to file false returns.
In an effort to conceal his identity from law enforcement, Ajifowobaje and his co-conspirators filed some of the false returns from hotels using free Wi-Fi.
In arguing in a court filing for a prison sentence of 11 years, the prosecution said Ajifowobaje inflicted upon his victims “financial hardship, injury to their credit records requiring significant time and effort to explain and repair, the necessity of obtaining identity theft protection in some cases, along with anxiety [over] having their identities compromised and fraudulent tax returns filed in their names.”
Crash victim was Stillwater man, 83
An 83-year-old man has been identified as the person who was killed in a multivehicle crash last week at a busy Eden Prairie intersection.
Peter Riehle, of Stillwater, suffered a fatal neck injury in the collision Friday afternoon at the intersection of Prairie Center Drive and Technology Drive, according to the Hennepin County medical examiner’s office.
Police gave conflicting information about whether there were two vehicles or three involved in the incident. Five other people were in the vehicles. Police did not disclose whether there were injuries to any of those people.
Man pleads guilty to shooting mother, child
A Minneapolis man who shot and wounded a mother and child near a city park over the summer has pleaded guilty.
Dontae Denae Peterson, 28, pleaded guilty Nov. 25 in Hennepin County District Court to intentionally firing a handgun several times. He will be sentenced on Feb. 9.
The Hennepin County attorney’s office said Peterson, a member of the 10z gang, was feuding with a man and his associates at Peavey Park on June 18 when he saw an SUV headed north on Park Avenue and ran through the park firing his gun at least eight times. The SUV was hit, but a bullet also hit Shandrea Spielman, 22, in the leg, as well as her 15-month-old daughter as she slept in a stroller. The mother and child spent days in the hospital recovering from their injuries.
Peterson is being held without bail until sentencing. The county is seeking a prison sentence of about 15 years.