No charges against bystander who shot man stabbing at window after Fridley crash

No criminal charges will be filed against a driver who shot a knife-wielding man following a car crash on Central Avenue in Fridley, Minnesota last February, the Anoka County Attorney's Office announced Thursday.

At 4:20 p.m. on Feb. 14, officers responded to a crash involving four vehicles at the intersection of Central Avenue and Medtronic Parkway. Callers told authorities a man, later identified as 33-year-old Simon Schiffler of Williston, North Dakota, had a knife and was trying to assault other people involved in the crash. 

Police said as the four drivers involved in the crash were getting out of their cars to exchange information, Schiffler began acting strange. According to witnesses, Schiffler physically pinned one driver to a passerby's vehicle and groped and attempted to kiss a woman involved in the crash. 

Witnesses said Schiffler then pulled out a large knife and attempted to assault another driver involved in the crash. The driver hid inside his vehicle and Schiffler began stabbing at the windows of the vehicle in an attempt to break the glass. 

Another man, who was not involved in the crash, stopped to help as Schiffler was stabbing at the other driver's window. The man was armed with a handgun. According to the Anoka County Attorney's Office,  the man "unholstered his gun, held it at his side, told Schiffler to stop and instructed other bystanders to back away." Schiffler then raised his four-inch knife and charged at the man with the gun.

"When Schiffler was about three or four yards away, the man fired his gun," prosecutors said. "Schiffler was shot three times; he died from his injuries."

The man with the gun stayed at the scene and was cooperative with police.

"The evidence demonstrates the shooter had no reasonable ability to further retreat, given the physical surroundings, proximity of other people and the actions of Schiffler," the Anoka County Attorney's Office said in a statement. "The shooter had reason to believe he and others were in imminent danger."

According to Minnesota law, the use of deadly force is justified “when necessary in resisting or preventing an offense which the actor reasonably believes exposes the actor or another to great bodily harm or death.”

"Based on Minnesota Statutes 609.06 and 609.065, the shooting of Schiffler was a justifiable use of force under our law," prosecutors said. "Therefore, no criminal charges will be issued against the shooter."