County attorney says use of force was justified in deadly shooting by deputies in Duluth

The St. Louis County attorney has ruled law enforcement officers acted "reasonably" when using force in a deadly police shooting in Duluth, Minnesota that followed an 18-hour standoff in which a K-9 dog was also killed.

County attorney Mark Rubin released his findings on Thursday, saying the shooting by officers was justified given the circumstances and authorized under state law.

On February 26, David Conwell was shot and killed by deputies after a standoff that lasted through the night into the following day in Duluth. Police said Conwell barricaded himself in his home, armed with a sawed-off shotgun, after officers responded for a reported domestic incident and later learned Conwell had warrants out.

Officers, deputies and SWAT crews staged for hours on the 2300 block of West 4th Street, trying to negotiate with Conwell. At some point during the incident, police dog K-9 Luna was sent into the house and killed by Conwell. Officers returned fire during the incident but say they don't believe Conwell was injured in the shooting.

According to the attorney's office, after the dog was shot, Conwell fired the shotgun three more times and failed to follow orders from police and drop the weapon. At that point, four police officers fired shots but again it doesn't appear Conwell was hit.

Later, police said Conwell was again holding the weapon and refusing to obey orders when Sgt. Ben Fye and Sgt. Miles Bruggman with the St. Louis County Sheriff's Office opened fire, killing Conwell.

In his statement, Rubin says, based on the circumstances including the "life-threatening situation that requires split-second determinations and decisions" the officers and deputies had acted appropriately.

Rubin says his findings have been submitted to BCA officials, the St. Louis County Sheriff, and the Duluth police chief.