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No charges for state trooper who shot man

Associated Press

ALEXANDRIA, Minn. -- A State Patrol trooper obviously acted legally when he returned fire and shot a man in the leg during a traffic stop last month, the Douglas County attorney said in his decision not to convene a grand jury in the case.

County Attorney Christopher Karman determined late last month that Trooper Rich Homan's use of force in the Oct. 25 shooting was reasonable and within the parameters of state law.

Last month, Homan was dispatched to locate a vehicle with North Dakota plates after authorities got word that the driver might have taken a number of pills and was possibly in need of medical attention. He located the vehicle near the town of Brandon.

When Homan approached the truck, he found its occupant, later identified as 30-year-old Frank Stoppleworth of Jamestown, N.D., sitting next to an uncased firearm. Homan retreated, drew his weapon and ordered Stoppleworth to exit the vehicle, according to the criminal complaint.

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Homan ordered Stoppleworth to show his hands 17 times, five of them after Stoppleworth left the truck and approached Homan with the 12-gauge shotgun. Homan only returned fire after Stoppleworth shot in his direction, the complaint said.

"Given that Corporal Homan waited until after Stoppleworth actually fired a round in his direction before returning fire, no reasonable person could find his use of force excessive," Karman wrote in a letter to the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

Stoppleworth has been charged with first-degree assault.

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