Officers identified in deadly officer-involved shooting

- The officers involved in a fatal shooting in St. James, Minn. on Jan. 31 have been identified. 

The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating the case and announced the names of the officers involved. 

Assistant Chief Rochelle Hanson discharged her Taser and her firearm. She has been in law enforcement for 18 years, including 14 with the St. James Police Department. Trooper Jacob Ruppert discharged his Taser. He has been in law enforcement for 11 years. Sergeant Barry Gulden also discharged his Taser. He has been with the Watonwan County Sheriff’s Office for 22 years. 

The 20-year-old male who was shot was identified by the Ramsey County Medical Examiner as Gilberto Salas. 

Nicollet County sheriff’s deputies started following a vehicle in LaFayette on Jan. 31 because the vehicle had been reported stolen out of New Ulm. Multiple law enforcement agencies participated in the pursuit until it was called off for safety reasons. 

The vehicle was spotted about 30 minutes later in St. James. Officers started following the car until it got stuck in a snow bank. Salas then ran into a business on the 600 block of 2nd Avenue South. Law enforcement officers from the St. James Police Department, the Watonwan County Sheriff’s Office and the Minnesota State Patrol followed him into the building. 

Salas then hid alone inside an office for several minutes. When he came out, he was carrying a knife. Salas ignored officers’ commands to drop the knife. Ruppert and Hanson discharged their Tasers. Salas advanced at Hanson at which point she discharged her firearm. 

Crews took Salas to the Mayo Clinic Health System hospital in St. James, where the suspect was pronounced dead. 

Hanson received treatment for a non-life threatening injury. 

None of the officers involved were wearing body cameras and the dash camera footage did not capture the shooting. Store surveillance cameras and Ruppert’s Taser camera captured parts of what happened, but the shooting itself was not captured. 

All of the officers involved are on standard administrative leave. 

When the BCA completes its investigation, it will turn over its report to the Watonwan County Attorney’s Office. 
 

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