Prosecutors: December deadly police shooting in northern Minnesota was justified

Three prosecutors determined a deadly police shooting in Mountain Iron, Minnesota late last year was justified, the St. Louis County Attorney’s Office announced Monday.

St. Louis County Attorney Mark Rubin agreed with two other prosecutors who conducted an outside review of the shooting that left a 19-year-old Virginia, Minnesota man dead Dec. 5. He was later identified as Estavon Elioff.

In the incident, two St. Louis County deputies fired their guns after a shoplifting call led to a police pursuit in northern Minnesota. The deputies are 11-year veteran Ryan Smith and 12-year veteran Matt Tomsich. Police say they both fired their Tasers before firing shots.

A two-tier outside review was conducted to review the case. First, retired prosecutor Vernon Swanum reviewed the case and then Washington County Attorney Peter Orput conducted his own review. Both men concluded the deputies’ actions were "clearly necessary, justified and authorized under the law," according to the St. Louis County Attorney.

In his statement, Rubin called the incident a "tragedy" but said the "totality of the circumstances" facing the deputies led him to believe the shooting was justified, just as the other prosecutors had.