Officer-involved fatal shooting of felon was ‘reasonable, justified,’ prosecutor finds

Convicted felon David Conwell shot and killed a Duluth K9 and was fatally shot himself by St. Louis County sergeants.

Duluth Police Department/Facebook

An officer-involved deadly shooting of a felon in Duluth last winter was found to be justified by the St. Louis County attorney.

Last February, Duluth Police Department (DPD) cops responded to a domestic violence call, where they learned that the man, David Joseph Wayne Conwell, was a convicted felon with warrants for his arrest.

Conwell ended up shooting and killing a DPD K9 that night and was fatally shot himself by St. Louis County sergeants.

St. Louis County Attorney Mark Rubin has ruled that St. Louis County cops Sergeant Miles Bruggman and Sergeant Ben Fye, the officers who fatally shot Conwell, were “objectively reasonable, justified, and authorized by law” in their actions.

A 20-hour stand-off ensued after DPD officers arrived at the scene of the domestic call in February.

Conwell refused to comply with the officers’ requests when they arrived, which resulted in the cops entering his residence to take him into custody.

Conwell was armed, a detail the cops were unaware of. They found Conwell hiding in a closet and sent a DPD K9 named Luna to apprehend him. Conwell opened fire on the dog, fatally shooting her.

Officers returned fire and exited the home, where they then attempted to extricate Conwell with “several electronic means of communicating” and by deploying “chemical irritants multiple times,” according to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA).

A tactical response team entered Conwell’s residence early the next morning. Conwell opened fire on the officers again, and they returned fire as they left the house.

The St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office took over 10 hours later, and their Emergency Response Team attempted to apprehend Conwell by taking out a section of wall the felon was located behind. Conwell “pointed his gun at the deputies,” was hit by several bullets, and was killed, the BCA said.

The county attorney found the sergeants were justified in their actions, as they were aware of the “extreme danger presented by Conwell,” who had explicitly shown his intent to kill.

“The officers involved in this 19-hour standoff/encounter demonstrated remarkable restraint, courage, and respect for the sanctity of life in their efforts to attempt to execute the outstanding felony warrants and take David Conwell into custody after he killed K9 Officer Luna,” Rubin wrote in his conclusion.

“Peace officers have perhaps one of the most difficult and dangerously routine jobs in our society,” Rubin continued. “Every day that an officer puts on a uniform and starts out on patrol, they are keenly aware that there is an increase in probability of coming face to face with a potentially deadly conflict.”


Rose Williams
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Rose Williams is an assistant editor for Alpha News.