m4605 BC-MN-GuardsmanShot 3rdLd-Writethru 06-21 0524

Case closed on Minn. Guardsman shot by police

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With BC-MN--Guardsman Shot-Summary Box


Associated Press Writer


ALEXANDRIA, Minn. (AP) — The police video shows a man walking along the side of Interstate 94, brandishing a shotgun that gleams in the morning sun, at times pointing it toward the policemen just outside the frame.

As Brian Skold walks forward, he fires a round into the air. The 28-year-old Iraq war veteran speaks to a SWAT team negotiator on his cell phone, saying he had just fired birdshot but passing along a dire message:

"The next one is lead, and it ain’t going in the (expletive) air," Skold says, according to Douglas County Attorney Christopher Karpan.

Seconds later, Skold chambers a round, drops to a crouch and points his gun at officers. The videotape, recorded from the dashboard of a squad car, cuts off there, an instant before officers shot Skold dead.

"The officers in this case did exactly what they were trained to do. This shooting was a tragedy, but I believe it was legally and morally justified. From the standpoint of my office, this case is closed," Karpan said of the May 27 shooting.

Skold, a specialist in the Minnesota National Guard, served about a year in Iraq. His family has said he was depressed but that they don’t believe his behavior was related to his service in Iraq.

Family members were offered a chance to view the tape but declined, Karpan said. They asked that the shooting itself not be shown to media, he said.

Calls to Skold’s parents and sister’s homes weren’t immediately returned.


At the time he was shot, Skold’s blood-alcohol level was 0.181, more than twice the legal limit for driving, authorities said. An open bottle of wine was in his truck.

Skold, who lived in Sauk Rapids, had five rounds in the shotgun, another 10 on or near him and 10 more in the truck. Karpan described him as "angry, extremely agitated and threatening," and said the shooting would’ve been justified even if Skold hadn’t had a live round in the chamber.

Karpan he said he didn’t want to speculate on Skold’s mental state, he said, there were "a lot of indications that a lot of difficulty was going through Mr. Skold’s life at this time. He had a lot of struggles going on, things were not going well."

Karpan was asked whether police handled the situation with extra care because Skold was a veteran. The SWAT negotiator, Douglas County Sheriff’s Sgt. Dave Ahlquist, spoke with Skold by cell phone in the moments before the shooting.

"There was a small amount of talk from Sgt. Ahlquist thanking Mr. Skold for his military service, because we were aware of it at the time, but it didn’t seem to make any difference," Karpan said.

Sgt. Chad Schroeder, a 10-year veteran, and Officer Tony Kuhnau, a five-year veteran, were both back on the job after three days on administrative leave following the shooting. Karpan officially cleared them Thursday.

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