Minnesota police officer cleared in fatal shooting of man who shot him first

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A St. Paul police officer was justified when he fatally shot a man who shot him first, Minnesota prosecutors announced Thursday.

The Ramsey County Attorney's Office said it concluded that the use of deadly force by Officer Michael Tschida against Brandon DaleShaun Keys, 28, of Maplewood, on Dec. 7 complied with state law and that the officer should not face charges.

According to a report by two of the office's top prosecutors, Tschida responded to a 911 call that day from the mother of Keys' child. She told a dispatcher she had a restraining order against Keys and was trying to get away while he rammed her van with his car repeatedly and shattered her windshield. She also said he had a gun.

The vehicles were stopped near the intersection of Cretin and Marshall avenues when Tschida arrived. He ordered Keys to the ground, but Keys popped up from behind his car and, from about 10 feet (3 meters) away, fired three shots at Tschida, who was trying to take cover. One bullet struck Tschida in the leg before he returned fire, the report says. Keys was struck in the head and died the next day.

Tschida told investigators from the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension that he had no doubt that Keys was trying to to kill him and possibly others, and that he needed to shoot to save himself and others.

According to the report, toxicology tests showed the presence of amphetamines, opiates and a cocaine metabolite in Keys' blood. The mother of his child told investigators that he had struggled with addiction, it says.

“The truth is that all too often police officers are called to dangerous situations having to place their lives on the line to protect those who call upon them and our community. We should appreciate this act of public service while also recognizing the deep loss that is felt by the family and friends of Mr. Keys,” Ramsey County Attorney John Choi wrote in response to the report.