OTSEGO, Minn. (FOX 9) - The Wright County Attorney won't bring charges against deputies in the death of Jordyn Hansen, the man shot by deputies in Otsego, who investigators say was armed with a knife and in the midst of a mental health emergency.
In a letter released on Monday, Wright County Attorney Brian Lutes says the officers' actions were justified.
Hansen was shot during an early morning 911 call on Sunday, August 7. The Wright County Sheriff's Office reported they were called out to the home of Hansen's aunt and uncle – who Hansen was staying with as he tried to get his life back on track after getting out of rehab – just before 1 a.m.
As they were dispatched, deputies were told Hansen was threatening to harm himself and his family. At the home, deputies say Hansen initially agreed to go to the hospital, but as deputies waited for an ambulance to take him, they said Hansen ran into the kitchen, grabbed a knife and ran from the home.
Deputies set up a perimeter in the neighborhood and ultimately tracked down Hansen in a neighbor's backyard. The sheriff said two deputies tried to tase Hansen, but it didn't work. Afterward, deputies said Hansen threatened them with the knife and two deputies fired shots. Hansen was hit and rushed to the hospital, where he later died.
Twenty-one-year-old Jordan Hansen was identified by family as the man killed in Wright County. (Supplied)
What happened before deputies arrived?
In his letter, Lutes detailed a statement Hansen's aunt and uncle made about the young man's behavior prior to 911 being called.
According to the statement, Hansen's aunt and uncle had heard from Hansen's siblings that Hansen had sent threatening messages on Facebook, warning he was "going to go to Faribault with a shotgun and murder people," Lutes details.
Lutes says the uncle went to Hansen's room to confront him. The uncle told investigators Hansen was acting strange, Lutes says, and "looked like a zombie and his eyes looked like the devil." The uncle also reported a strange odor in Hansen's room, which he didn't smell before. Hansen denied sending the violent messages when speaking with his uncle. As the situation escalated, the uncle told his wife to call 911, and knocked a bottle of prescription drugs out of Hansen's hands. The uncle said Hansen later tried to jump out a window, but his uncle restrained him.
How did Hansen get away?
Hansen's aunt and uncle said when deputies arrived, they spoke with Hansen in his room before taking him downstairs. However, when they came downstairs, Hansen darted around a corner, ran into the kitchen, grabbed a steak knife, and ran into the garage.
In Lutes' notes, the aunt and uncle felt deputies took a long time to enter the garage. By the time they did, Hansen had already run away. Speaking with investigators, Hansen's aunt was upset they hadn't handcuffed him at the home and allowed Hansen to walk in front of them downstairs.
In his report, again detailed by Lutes, one of two deputies who initially responded to the home, identified only as Deputy Gaikowski, said Hansen seemed calm and was compliant while speaking with him. The deputy says Hansen told him he was feeling claustrophobic in his room. Gaikowski suggested they go downstairs, which Hansen agreed to. As Gaikowski and his partner Deputy Linn escorted Hansen downstairs, they say Hansen suddenly ran to the kitchen and grabbed the knife. Deputy Gaikowski drew his weapon and demanded Hansen drop the knife, but Hansen ran into the entryway to the garage.
Gaikowski and Linn waited for backup to arrive before entering the garage. Once backup was on the scene, and after attempting contact with Hansen in the garbage, they went inside and realized Hansen was gone. Deputies Gaikowski and Linn searched the area but were unable to find Hansen at first.
Lutes says Deputy Linn provided a statement that was consistent with Gaikowski's account. Neither account details why Hansen wasn't handcuffed.
The search and shooting of Hansen
After Hansen got away, deputies were working to determine the next steps in the search when Deputy Gaikowski spotted Hansen in the driveway behind a parked car.
Lutes' letter details a chaotic situation in the small neighborhood, with Hansen next being spotted near 72nd Street NE and Martin Farms Avenue, just steps from Hansen's uncle's home on 72nd Court NE.
In a statement, Deputy Linn recounted seeing Hansen refuse commands to drop the knife, ultimately lunging at deputies. Linn said two deputies fired tasers, identified by the BCA as Deputies Patrick Mabusth and Mark Voss. Linn says the tasers were ineffective and Hansen continued lunging at police At that point, two other deputies, identified by the BCA as Sgt. Jeffrey McMackins and Deputy Leland Wilkinson, fired shots.
Deputies provided medical care at the scene, but Hansen ultimately died at North Memorial Medical Center.
Other deputies provided similar accounts of the shooting, as detailed by Lutes' letter.
Family questions deputies' response to mental health crisis
After the shooting of Hansen, his family called out the Wright County Sheriff's Office, questioning how they allowed Hansen, who was suffering from a mental health episode, to get ahold of a knife and escape the house – after deputies had gotten him under control
"It didn't have to happen," said Hansen's sister speaking with FOX 9 just days after the shooting in August. "It could have been prevented. There were many opportunities for it to be prevented."
His sister added: "My brother was unarmed when the police arrived. He was upstairs, unarmed. How did the police let him get a knife? How? It just doesn't make sense."
The family also raised concerns about deputy training to deal with mental health calls.
Lutes' letter doesn't answer how Hansen was able to get away from deputies after the initial interaction or if the deputies erred by not cuffing Hansen while waiting for an ambulance.