Family of Shakopee Man Killed by Police Say Shooting is 'Terrible Mistake'

November 13, 2018 10:23 PM

The family of James Hanchett told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS the shooting death of the 61-year-old Shakopee man is a "terrible mistake."

Elaine Theis, Hanchett's ex-wife, told KSTP he was a kind and generous man who would not threaten police with a weapon and hopes body camera video will show it was a tragedy which could have been avoided.

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"He was just a kind, generous, soft soul," Theis said. "He respected and held up police, Marines and anyone who protected this country and he would never, ever point a gun at an officer with intent to harm them."

Theis said shared her own thoughts on what might have transpired before Shakopee Police shot Hanchett in the doorway of his home Friday, Nov. 9.

"He had a wood burning stove in the basement and it triggered a fire alarm through the security system he had in place," Theis said. "The company then alerted police and with sirens, warnings and lights going off he had a gun and probably thought someone was breaking into his home."

Theis said she is certain Hanchett, as she knew him to react in certain situations, did not immediately realize it was a police officer at his door.

RELATED: Neighbor Says Shakopee Officer-Involved Shooting Traumatic for Entire Community 

"He was a skilled marksman and had guns in his house for hunting and personal safety," Theis said. "But, he knew how to safely handle those guns because he taught gun safety training and gun laws."

Theis said it is important people know Hanchett was a very calm, soft-hearted person who would not act out aggressively toward anyone--especially law enforcement.

"This is not the guy people think just because he was shot by police," Theis said. "I think a terrible mistake was made and I hope people know he would not do something like aim a gun at police or try to hurt anyone."

RELATED: Officials ID Officer, Man Fatally Shot in Shakopee OIS

Theis said she and Hanchett divorced two years ago, but remained close friends and he was not depressed, or suicidal, and she had just visited his home a few days prior to the shooting.

"He was in a very good mood like he always was," Theis said. "We talked and played with the cat in the yard and life was going well for  him."

Tiffany Hedstrom told KSTP she was friends with Hanchett, and she did not see any changes in him when she visited with him just two days before he was killed.

RELATED: Shakopee Officer Fatally Shoots Male who Raised Gun at Him

"He was just a very chill, generous and kind person and it just doesn't add up to me," Hedstrom said. "I know there is body camera video and I just hope it does not get swept under the rug and police do their due diligence and kind of find out what really happened."

The BCA does not comment on open investigations, but did issue a statement which said Hanchett had been shot multiple times and Shakopee Police Officer Thor Carlson, a 12-year veteran, is now on paid leave which is standard procedure in a situation like this one.

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Jay Kolls

Copyright 2018 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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