Prosecutors won’t charge police in fatal 2021 Forest Lake shooting

Friday, prosecutors announced that charges won’t be filed against the officers involved in the fatal shooting of an armed man last November.

The Washington County Attorney’s Office says it determined the officers’ deadly force against 47-year-old Bradley George Erickson was justified.

RELATED: Man who officers shot in Forest Lake standoff dies in hospital

“While the death of an individual by deadly force is never to be taken lightly, there is no question that the actions of the officers in this matter were wholly justified,” Nick Hydukovich, the Washington County Attorney’s Office’s criminal division head, said in a statement. “The need to take a human life deeply affects all of those involved, and these officers made every effort to avoid having to take that action.”

Authorities say Forest Lake police and Washington County deputies were called to the 8300 block of 224th Street North at around 1:30 p.m. on Nov. 28, 2021, on a report of an armed man violating a protection order against him. The caller also said the man — Erickson — threatened to shoot her and any law enforcement that responded.

First responders reported seeing Erickson walking with a rifle near the caller’s home and officers tried negotiating with him, police said. At some point, Erickson started driving away and officers followed, then attempted a pursuit intervention technique (PIT maneuver). When Erickson’s vehicle stopped, police say he pointed his rifle directly at a deputy. At that point, two police officers and a deputy fired at him.

According to the attorney’s office, the officers rendered aid to Erickson until he was airlifted to a hospital, where he later died.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said it recovered more than 20 cartridge casings from the road and an AR platform-type rifle near Erickson’s vehicle.

“The Washington County Attorney’s Office has found that under the totality of the circumstances, the officers reasonably feared death or great bodily harm and were left with no means to deescalate the
situation other than the use of deadly force,” the attorney’s office said in announcing the decision.