Officer cleared in Plymouth shooting

Published 10:26 am Thursday, June 9, 2016

By Brandt Williams

MPR News/90.1 FM

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman will not charge a Plymouth police officer in the shooting death of Derek Wolfsteller last July.

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In announcing his decision, Freeman on Wednesday also released details of the investigation, which he says shows officer Amy Therkelsen was justified in using deadly force to kill Wolfsteller in a confrontation at an Arby’s restaurant. However, the attorney representing the family of the man who was fatally shot says Wolfsteller needed help and didn’t need to die.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said Plymouth officer Amy Therkelsen was called to the restaurant about a disturbance. Authorities say Therkelsen shot Wolfsteller after he tried to get her gun. He died at the scene.

Wolfsteller, a 31-year-old Plymouth man, initially called 911 and told a dispatcher to send an ambulance to the Arby’s where he was. Asked who the ambulance was for, Wolfsteller answered, “For me.” Asked by the dispatcher if he had a mental illness, Wolfsteller said yes.

The emergency call was answered by Therkelsen, a seven-year officer. As she approached the scene, the dispatcher told her that the man inside Arby’s may be having mental health problems and he may or may not be carrying knives.

When Therkelsen arrived, according to Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigators, she first tried to get Wolfsteller to come out of the restaurant. But investigators say Wolfsteller ran toward a door and into an Arby’s employee.

Therkelsen commanded Wolfsteller to put his hands up and get on the floor. But investigators say Wolfsteller didn’t comply and struggled with now two restaurant employees.