Family of man shot by police frustrated by delays in case

Almost a year after Darren Jahnke was killed by a Ramsey County Sheriff's deputy in Vadnais Heights, his family is still looking for answers.

Despite being shot inside a family friend's RV on Easter Sunday last year, his family is alleging the Medical Examiner still hasn't released his body for burial--just one of a series of delays in the case they're frustrated about.

"We’re feeling more discouraged with each passing day," Jahnke's sister, Jenny Vance, said Tuesday. "I’m angry ... Easter is fast approaching."

No charging decision against the officer has been made yet, despite the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Investigation saying the case was turned over to the Ramsey County Attorney's Office in January. The BCA handles all officer-involved shootings in the state. 

As far as recovering the body, the Medical Examiner said the office usually hands it off within a few days of a shooting--unless the family is requesting a cremation, which was Vance and her family's original plan for Jahnke. 

After some time they did change their mind and decided to get an independent autopsy, though it's led to months of delays and what the family is characterizing as a major headache. Tuesday, however, the Medical Examiner's office finally approved Jahnke's body for release.

"There are no real answers, no emotional advocacy, no transparency and no accountability." Vance said. "My brother is gone and we don’t know why."

According to the initial report, Jahnke struggled with several officers and may have disarmed one of them, leading police to open fire. They claimed they were responding to reports of a suspicious vehicle near Highway 61 and I-694 at the time, and attempted to talk to someone inside the RV before going inside.

At least two deputies attempted to tase Jahnke before shooting, according to the report, but the actions were ineffective.

The Ramsey County Sheriff's Office says it plans to conduct an internal investigation once a charging decision is made in the case.

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