Updated: 07/31/2014 6:29 PM
Created: 07/31/2014 6:20 PM KSTP.com
By: Josh Rosenthal
Authorities are calling the man suspected of shooting and killing a Mendota Heights police officer a career criminal.
Brian Fitch Sr. was arrested Wednesday night after a day-long manhunt and a shootout with police. He's accused of shooting Mendota Heights police officer Scott Patrick during a traffic stop just before 12:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Authorities received a tip and tracked Fitch down in St. Paul near Rice and Sycamore Streets. Fitch opened fire, and officers returned fire, shooting and seriously injuring him.
"Fitch fired first, fired several rounds at the officer," explained St. Paul Police Sgt. Paul Paulos at a Thursday afternoon news conference.
5 EYEWITNESS NEWS dug into Fitch’s background and found he has convictions or arrests for burglary, theft, terroristic threats, assault, drug offenses, fleeing and escaping custody. In fact, Fitch just got out of prison in February.
"We talked in the chow hall a few times but nothing serious," said Stephen Munger, who claims he and Fitch served prison time together. "He was a little more on the crazy side, but there's a lot of people out here on the crazy side, so you know, maybe he was just, you know, fed up with the situation. I don't know what he was going through or what he was thinking, but it's just crazy."
Case records examined by The Associated Press show Fitch was charged in Dakota County last year with possessing 47.4 grams of methamphetamine. Documents show prosecutors were seeking 30 years in prison if he was convicted on a pending drug charge.
One condition of Fitch's release from jail was entering a drug treatment program. The warrant was issued June 6 after he left.
Police identified the woman who was with Fitch when he was arrested, and also shot, as 36-year-old Kelly Lee Hardy. Police say they're unsure of her role in the ordeal, and she has not been charged with a crime.
Still, even after losing one of their own, police said Thursday their most recent run-in with Fitch could've been a lot worse.
"This was really a traumatic day," Paulos said. "We could've lost a lot more guys, but we didn't."
Fitch is expected to be formally charged Friday with the deadly shooting.
The Associated Press Contributed to this Story.