Slain North St. Paul officer killed with his own gun, official says

Officer Richard Crittenden was shot and killed Monday morning.

Officer Richard Crittenden was shot and killed Monday morning.

As the investigation continues in the first-ever on-duty death of a police officer in North St. Paul, details are emerging that paint a struggle between police and the suspect that led to the officer's murder Monday morning.

Richard Crittenden, a nine-year veteran of the force, was killed when a suspect in a domestic dispute allegedly shot and killed him. An official close to the investigation told the Pioneer Press that Crittenden died trying to defend the man's estranged wife and himself against a suspect who lunged at them with a burning towel.

"He died saving someone else," said a law enforcement source of Crittenden in the PiPress.

More from the PiPress:

Crittenden reportedly pushed the woman out of harm's way but in the process left himself vulnerable for the man to ambush him, grab his handgun and shoot him, the source said.

A Maplewood police officer was slightly wounded but shot the suspect dead during an exchange of gunfire moments later inside the North St. Paul apartment in the 2200 block of Skillman Avenue.

Those details come from witness accounts provided by the injured officer and estranged wife. The incident is under investigation and has yet to be confirmed by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

The funeral service and visitation for Crittenden have been scheduled:

Funeral: Friday, Sept. 11, 11 a.m. at Aldrich Arena, 1850 North White Bear Avenue in Maplewood.

Visitation: Thursday, Sept. 10, 4 - 8 p.m. at Sandberg Funeral Home, 2539 East Seventh Avenue in North St. Paul.