North Dakota Trooper Cleared in Fatal Interstate Shooting

The state attorney's office determined the trooper was justified in use of deadly force against Billings man

By Associated Press

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A North Dakota state trooper who fatally shot a Montana man along an interstate last month has been cleared of any wrongdoing.

The Morton County State’s Attorney’s Office determined Trooper Steve Mayer was justified in his use of deadly force against 45-year-old Craig Knutson, of Billings.

Mayer was assisting Morton County sheriff’s deputies who attempted to stop Knutson on Interstate 94 west of Mandan on Sept. 7. Knutson, accused of reckless driving, failed to pull over. Mayor used his patrol vehicle to force Knutson to stop.

The Highway Patrol late Tuesday released video of the incident, along with reports from the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Morton County Sheriff’s Office and the letter from the state’s attorney office.

A dispatcher can be heard in Highway Patrol video telling officers that Knutson was threatening to shoot himself. Knutson confirmed to the dispatcher that he had a gun, but has no intention of harming any law enforcement officers, the Bismarck Tribune reported.

Mayer can be heard on the video telling Knutson to show his hands and then informing deputies who also were on the scene that Knutson had a gun. Mayer fired one round from his handgun at almost the same time a deputy fired one less-than-lethal round from a shotgun, according to the BCI report.

BCI handled the investigation and turned the case over to the state’s attorney’s office for consideration of charges.

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