Khaleel Thompson, the 18-year-old shot by police in Crystal, Minnesota in May, had dared police officers to kill him on multiple occasions, according to Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman.
On Thursday, Freeman announced no charges would be filed against officers who fired more dozens of shots at Thompson at short range, hitting him three times, once in the head. Thompson survived, but required a lengthy stay in a hospital, where a bullet was removed from his brain.
In the 18 months leading up to Thompson's shooting, the teenager, who had a history of schizophrenia and depression, had inspired 911 calls in St. Louis Park and Crystal on four different occasions. In each instance, Thompson was suicidal, and each time he lamented that police had not killed him, according to Freeman's report.
At the time of the shooting, Thompson was holding an airsoft BB gun, which police and Freeman say he was "sometimes" pointing at officers when they found him walking in a field after a report of a black man with a gun.
One officer shot at Thompson with a bean bag shotgun, dropping him to his knees. Thompson got back up and aimed his BB gun at the cop who'd used the bean bag gun; another officer, Bryan Elfstrom, who'd had his pistol trained on Thompson since he arrived on the scene, "immediately fired at least a dozen shots" at Thompson.
"All of the officers fired at least one shot," the county attorney account says, "and most fired repeatedly."
Freeman's office released dashcam video obtained from three different squad cars as part of the announcement. The clearest footage, seen below, depicts a tense standoff with officers repeatedly screaming at Thompson to "Drop the gun!" before the bean bag shots are fired, followed seconds later by the live-round shots.
This perspective was recorded from inside the vehicle of Bryan Elfstrom, the officer who fired first.
In a statement, Freeman says it is "clear" the officers involved were allowed to use deadly force to "prevent harm or death" to themselves or bystanders.
After the shooting, officers discovered a bottle of "Chic Merlot red nail polish," the attorney's office report says, which had been "used to cover the orange tip of the gun so police would think it was a real gun."
Said Freeman: “The officers not only pleaded with Mr. Thompson to drop his weapon, but used a non-lethal bean bag rifle first, in an effort to get him to drop the gun. All those measures failed and ultimately the officers feared for their lives and fired numerous shots. We are grateful that Mr. Thompson did not die and is fully recovering from his wounds."
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