Video shows Donnie Joe Lira aiming to shoot Trooper Travis Pearson

Donnie Joe Lira takes aim at Travis Pearson
Donnie Joe Lira takes aim at Travis Pearson
Via Minnesota State Patrol

Donnie Joe Lira is dead. State Trooper Travis Pearson, the man who shot him, is back on patrol. And a dashboard video just released by the State Patrol shows why. (Video below.)

Pearson was working alone the night of June 12 up in St. Louis County when he picked up Lira's trail. The 66-year-old Cherry Township man was wanted for opening fire on a house where his estranged wife and two young children were staying. He pulled in behind Lira's Chevrolet Cavalier not far from the home.

As the video opens, he's following him down rural County Highway 25, a little after 11 p.m., lights flashing.

Lira slows and makes a left turn down a narrow dirt driveway and stops in front of his trailer home. Pearson pulls up behind him.

"Show me your hands right now," he yells.

Lira pushes the driver's side door open and it just hangs there for a few agonizing moments. Lira starts to get out of the car, but it begins rolling backwards. He puts on the brakes.

When Lira steps out again, he's carrying a rifle.

"Drop the gun!" Pearson yells at Lira, over and over. "Drop the gun or I will kill you."

Lira jacks a shell into the 7mm rifle's chamber. He hoists the gun to his shoulder. He aims at Pearson. The video stops.

The camera keeps recording as Pearson fired 16 shots at Lira, killing him, but the State Patrol didn't release, and will not allow reporters to see that portion of the tape.

The St. Louis County Attorney cleared Pearson of any wrongdoing.

According to Lira's obituary carried in the Mesabi Daily News:

He was born Nov. 12, 1943, in Los Angeles, the son of Joe and Jean Lira. He received his GED and joined the Air Force in 1961 as a way to leave the harsh streets of Los Angeles. Throughout his 20-year military career, Donnie served all over the world and was a veteran of the Vietnam War.

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