Suspect in Shooting of South St. Paul Officers Charged With 4 Counts of Attempted Murder

July 20, 2018 06:44 PM

The man accused of shooting two South St. Paul police officers was charged with four counts of attempted murder Friday in Dakota County.

Dustin Allen Bilderback is charged with two counts of first-degree attempted murder and two counts of second-degree attempted murder.  He made his first court appearance Friday afternoon.

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Dakota County Sheriff Tim Leslie said two officers were wounded in an incident early that occurred early Thursday afternoon. Neither injury was considered life-threatening.

One officer was taken to the hospital, but South St. Paul Police Chief William Messerich said Thursday night that he had been released, and that both officers were at home recovering.

RELATED: Suspect in Shooting Involving South St. Paul Officers to Make Court Appearance

The residential living facility at which Bilderback was residing said he became upset when he learned the facility was terminating his lease and independent living services.

In a lengthy statement released Friday, Everyday Living, which describes itself on its website as a facility meant to help in "moving individuals facing mental illness toward a healthier and more productive life," said Bilderback allegedly kept a hidden firearm in the trunk of his car, which he used to begin shooting as police arrived.

The criminal complaint says Bilderback was on provisional discharge from the St. Peter Security Hospital after having been committed as mentally ill and dangerous out of Anoka County.

A mental health case worker was supposed to meet with him at the facility Thursday morning. But Bilderback was late for the appointment, so staff there conducted a health and safety check of his unit. In doing so, they reportedly noticed items missing that were of importance to him.

RELATED: Suspect in Shooting of South St. Paul Officers Booked into Dakota County Jail

The complaint states staff reported him as a missing person around 12:28 p.m. Thursday. But he returned to the facility shortly thereafter.

The complaint said Bilderback allegedly met with a case worker in the group home office, voicing concern about returning to the hospital or police coming to get him. He reportedly said he wanted a cigarette and both he and the case worker exited the building. Once outside, they reportedly encountered three South St. Paul police officers, who had just arrived on the scene.

According to the complaint, the officers began conferring with the case worker on whether Bilderback should be placed on a 72-hour mental hold. While that discussion was in progress, Bilderback allegedly walked to the back of the group home where his car was parked.

Upon reaching the car, the complaint alleges he pulled a shotgun from the back seat. He then reportedly began firing, striking one officer in the back, neck and arm. Another officer was struck in the leg.

The complaint alleges he fired his weapon six times in all. Officers returned fire, but did not strike him. The complaint alleges officers commanded him to drop his weapon, and he complied and was placed under arrest.

RELATED: 2 Officers Injured in South St. Paul Shooting, Suspect in Custody

The release from Everyday Living said Bilderback was one of eight tenants of its apartment building.

"One of the eight tenants of our apartment building became aggressive and dangerous as he learned that Everyday Living was terminating his lease and his independent living services," read a portion of the statement. "In violation of the terms of his probationary discharge to our apartment building, and in violation of our strict policies and lease requirements, he kept a hidden firearm in the trunk of his car and began shooting as police arrived."

The statement said no one at the facility was hurt in the incident.

"Everyday Living is offering and providing grief and trauma counseling to our staff and tenants," the statement continued. "This situation reminds us that although a criminal assault of this magnitude is a rare and isolated occurrence, supporting an individual who is striving to overcome serious behavioral issues of aggression in order to achieve a better life sometimes carries risk to our staff and others."

The facility went on to say it will conduct an internal investigation into the incident to "assure that we are doing everything possible and permissible under the scope of our independent service license to keep our tenants, staff and our neighbor's safe."

The statement also said the facility would cooperate fully with any other government investigation into the matter, and would reach out to Dakota County Human Services and other community officials to "determine whether any preventative lessons can be learned from yesterday's shooting."

The statement began by thanking police officers and other emergency professionals "who quickly responded to our 911 call."

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