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NEWS RELEASE

Bruce Gordon, Director of Communications
CONTACT:
Jill Oliveira  651-793-2726
jill.oliveira@state.mn.us
 
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 02, 2021
Update on BCA Investigation of Officer Involved Shooting in Duluth
​ST. PAUL — The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) has identified the law enforcement personnel who used force during an officer involved shooting incident last week in Duluth. 

From the Duluth Police Department:
  • Officer Dean Bauers is part of the department’s Tactical Response Team and has been in law enforcement for nine years. Officer Bauers fired his handgun.
  • Sergeant Mike Erickson has been in law enforcement for 26 years. Sgt. Erickson fired his handgun.
  • Officer Logan Goss has been in law enforcement for five years. Officer Goss fired his shotgun.
  • Officer Aaron Haller has been in law enforcement for six years. Officer Haller deployed K9 Luna. K9 Luna was fatally shot during the incident.
  • ​Officer Ian Johnson has been in law enforcement for nine years. Officer Johnson fired his handgun.
From the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Response Team:
  • Sergeant Miles Bruggman has been in law enforcement for eight years. Sgt. Bruggman fired his rifle.
  • Sergeant Benjamin Fye has been in law enforcement for 13 years. Sgt. Fye fired his rifle.
  • Deputy Troy Nichols has been in law enforcement for five years. Dep. Nichols fired less lethal impact rounds.
  • Deputy Martin Thorne has been in law enforcement for five years. Dep. Thorne fired less lethal rounds.
The Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office on Saturday identified the man who died during the incident as David Joseph Wayne Conwell, 37, of Duluth, who died of multiple gunshot wounds.

The BCA is investigating the incident at the request of the Duluth Police Department and the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office.

According to the BCA’s preliminary investigation, Duluth police officers responded to an apartment on the 2300 block of West 4th Street at approximately 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 25, in response to a 911 call from a third party about a possible physical domestic. Officers spoke with the apartment’s female occupant and could not determine whether an assault took place. Officers determined that a male occupant of the apartment, now identified as David Conwell, had felony warrants and they entered the apartment to locate and take him into custody. They had no indication at that point that Conwell may be armed.

While searching the home officers encountered Conwell hiding in a bedroom closet. As K9 Luna was attempting to apprehend him, Conwell produced a shotgun. Conwell shot at the officers, fatally striking K9 Luna. The other officers returned fire. They continued to fire as they retreated from the home. There is no indication that Conwell was struck by either exchange of gunfire. Duluth’s Tactical Response Team (TRT) was dispatched to the scene and a standoff began. 

Over the next several hours, TRT members tried several electronic means of communicating with Conwell and deployed chemical irritants multiple times to try to force him to exit the apartment. At approximately 3 a.m. Friday, TRT members entered the home. As they entered a bedroom Conwell emerged from a closet and began shooting at them. Officers returned fire and retreated out of the building. There is no indication that Conwell was struck by this exchange of gunfire.

After 10 hours, St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Response Team (ERT) relieved the Duluth TRT at the scene. 

ERT members continued to deploy chemical irritants to no avail. At approximately 4 p.m. Friday, ERT members entered the building, determined that Conwell was in a second floor closet. They removed a section of the exterior wall of the closet. Conwell jumped through the hole onto the porch and pointed his gun at the deputies. Two deputies fired their rifles and two deputies fired less lethal rounds, striking Conwell.

Deputies provided medical aid but Conwell was pronounced deceased at the scene. 

No one else was injured. Portions of the incident were captured on Duluth Police Department body cameras. BCA crime scene personnel recovered a gun at the scene.
This is an active and ongoing investigation. Once the investigation is complete, the BCA will provide its findings without recommendation to the St. Louis County Attorney’s Office for review.

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