EXCLUSIVE: ‘Six inches higher’: Ramsey County deputy opens up after narrowly escaping death 

Days after saying a final goodbye to three fallen brothers in Burnsville, bullets from a long rifle came within inches of killing Deputy Joe Kill.

Ramsey County Deputy Joe Kill talks with Alpha News reporter Liz Collin about a March 1 incident that nearly took his life. (Alpha News)

With thousands of people watching Live on Patrol on a Friday night last month, Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher raced to help one of his deputies in a chase, one that ended minutes later in a St. Paul neighborhood, with the sheriff briefly struggling to fill in the blanks through his emotion.

“Six inches higher, six inches higher. Ok, you can talk now, Pat, I’m going to be out here for a little bit,” Fletcher can be heard saying, choking up before leaving his squad for a moment.

For the first time, Deputy Joe Kill is speaking publicly about those moments from March 1.

“Once we turned onto Euclid, the passenger was hanging out the window with a long rifle and started shooting at the car,” Deputy Kill recalled.

“The first thing going through my mind is as soon as I saw the muzzle flash and the shots being fired, I just ducked and swerved to the left, then I felt pain right away in my shoulder blade area,” he added.

Police respond to the scene of the March 1 shooting. (Sheriff Bob Fletcher/Live on Patrol)

The rifle rounds had pierced his squad. Several spent shell casings were recovered at the scene.

Amazingly, Kill walked away with only dislodged ribs and bruising.

A member of Ramsey County’s Carjacking and Auto Theft (CAT) Team, Deputy Kill pursues stolen cars and the ringleaders responsible.

Alpha News rode along two years ago to see the impact the team was making within a matter of months of being formed.

“When I came to Ramsey County, we started the CAT unit,” Deputy Kill said. “There were three of us initially, I think we’re up to about nine people now.”

Alpha News rode along with Deputy Kill two years ago to report on the impact of the CAT Team. (Alpha News)

Statistics from the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office show the difference in auto theft and carjacking cases in Minneapolis compared to St. Paul in the first two months of this year.

“The people we arrest all the time are usually known to us. They know if they do these crimes in Ramsey County, we will apprehend them and they know that,” Deputy Kill said.

“We have a car flee from us every day,” he added.

Throughout his time in law enforcement, Kill said he’s never seen so many guns on the streets or so many kids involved in crimes.

‘You don’t think it’s ever actually going to happen’

After the chase that night, Sheriff Fletcher told the Live on Patrol audience:

“The rifleman was hanging out the window shooting at Kill as he was chasing him. You can’t get any more serious than that. I hope you’ll share this story so your friends realize just how dangerous this job can be. Where that bullet hit on the dash and it hit right on the hood. If it’s six inches higher, he’s dead. The bullet is six inches higher, Joe Kill is dead.”

Statistics from the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office showing the difference in carjacking and auto theft cases through the first two months of the year.

A 17-year-old juvenile and a 20-year-old named Trevion Figgs have been charged in connection to the incident. The charges state that “shrapnel from bullets fired at the squad struck Deputy Kill near his right collar bone area.”

According to the charging document, Figgs is already facing an additional attempted murder charge from an incident in June 2023 where he “fired 27 shots at people in broad daylight.” When police later attempted to arrest him in that case, he fled from the vehicle but was eventually apprehended while in possession of a handgun with an obliterated serial number.

Thus, he was also charged with being in possession of a firearm without a serial number. However, the charges were downgraded and his 360-day sentence to the workhouse for the gun charge was stayed in January, Crime Watch Minneapolis reported.

Deputy Kill believes stricter penalties and more space to hold juvenile offenders would lead to safer streets. He said it’s not uncommon to arrest kids a dozen times before they face any real consequences.

Kill served in the Army and never dreamed such lawlessness would be allowed so close to home.

His oldest daughter, Hayley, admits to spending more time with her dad these last few weeks.

“You don’t think it’s ever actually going to happen. Until it does,” Hayley Kill said.

“In the summer I would have some bad dreams and just be scared every time he goes to work, so that was pretty scary,” she added.

The family expressed gratitude to everyone who has reached out as they looked through a pile of cards on their kitchen counter.

Deputy Kill and his daughter, Hayley, read through a pile of cards they’ve received since the shooting. (Alpha News)

“I think it’s good for him to see how much support he has and that he’s not in it alone,” Hayley said.

Not lost on them is the fact that days earlier, Deputy Kill said a final goodbye to three fallen brothers in Burnsville, as a total of eight first responders in the region have lost their lives in the line of duty in the last year.

Still, Deputy Kill says he will be back at work soon.

“I want to go back and do it,” he said. “I love my job. I love helping people.”


Liz Collin

Liz Collin has been a truth-teller for 20 years as a multi-Emmy-Award-winning reporter and anchor. Liz is a Worthington, Minnesota native who lives in the suburbs with her husband, son and loyal lab.