Olmsted Co.: Austin officer won’t face criminal charges in shooting death

Published 2:29 pm Monday, March 27, 2017

An Austin Police Department officer will not face criminal charges in the shooting death of a suspect on Jan. 11 in Austin.

The Olmsted County Attorney’s office released findings of its review on Monday, finding that officer Chad Norman was justified in using force when he shot and killed Ronald Dean Johnson while responding to a domestic dispute.

“He was authorized to use that high level of force,” Olmsted County Attorney Mark Ostrem said.

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According to the BCA’s preliminary investigation, when a woman who had been visiting Johnson at his home told him she was leaving, he produced a knife and refused to allow her to leave. He forced her to the upper level of the home.

Norman, a 14-year veteran of the department, responded to the call on the 1000 block of Eighth Avenue Southwest. Upon arrival, officers, as well as deputies from the Mower County Sheriff’s Department, made verbal contact with Johnson but he told them that if they attempted to come to the second floor of the home, he would “cut her.”

When the woman he was holding upstairs began to scream, officers rushed the stairs while Johnson began throwing items down at them. An air conditioner and glass bottle were both thrown at Norman, who then fired his weapon, striking Johnson. Johnson was airlifted to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, where he later died.

The woman was not stabbed but had been assaulted prior to police arrival on the scene, according to the BCA.

Norman has been on administrative leave since the incident, as is standard procedure.

According to Ostrem, Olmsted County’s role in the case is now over, and it will go back to the Minnesota Bureau of Apprehension.

Austin Police Chief Brian Krueger declined to comment on Olmsted County’s findings, but he confirmed the BCA’s investigation is not yet closed. As of Tuesday, Norman was still on administrative leave.

BCA officials said they’re going through the procedures to close the case.