April 12, 2018 10:46 PM
The Ramsey County Medical Examiner has identified 23-year-old Benjamin Evans as the man whom the Washington County Sheriff's Office said was shot by a deputy early Thursday morning in Lake Elmo.
Authorities said Evans was armed with a handgun and was making suicidal comments when they arrived at the intersection of Lake Elmo Avenue and 34th Street North.
Sheriff's deputies tried to talk to him to de-escalate the situation, according to a release sent by Washington County Chief Deputy Brian Mueller. The deputies later fired "less lethal ammunition" at Evans.
Later, the release said, a one deputy fired his gun and shot Evans.
Julie Norris was Evans' next-door neighbor in a small Lake Elmo apartment complex near the scene.
She said around midnight, Evans' friend knocked on her door and asked her to call 911.
After law enforcement arrived, Norris said she listened from her window to what was happening outside between Evans and the sheriff's deputies.
"I heard the popping going off," Norris said. "There was like 10 shots. Ten bullets and that was it. Then I heard the sirens and the lights going."
Norris said the 23-year-old moved to Minnesota from Missouri and worked as an EMT.
Evans' stepmother, Bridget, said the family didn't expect to get the phone call that came Thursday morning.
"I just can't see it happening," she said over the phone Thursday afternoon. "I just can't. I just cannot see the way this has just happened. I just don't see him that way."
Bridget said Evans took after his father, who was an EMT and firefighter. She said he loved to play hockey and spend time with family and friends.
"If you ask anybody, they'd always have something nice to say, that he's always there for everybody else," Bridget said.
When asked about sheriff's office policy and training related to issues of mental health and crisis intervention, Mueller sent the following statement:
"The Washington County Sheriff's Office has taken a strong approach in dealing with mental health issues that occur in our communities. Crisis Intervention Training or 'CIT' has been a standard training for our deputies and correctional staff for the last six years. As of today, we have over 96 percent of our patrol deputies trained in crisis intervention and 98 percent of our correctional staff.
"We are working with all departments in Washington County to deal with this important public issue to serve our citizens at the highest level"
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating the incident.
Updated: April 12, 2018 10:46 PM
Created: April 12, 2018 08:38 PM
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