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Crookston officer who fatally shot man at homeless shelter also killed hatchet-wielding man in May

WCCO digital update: Afternoon of July 9, 2024
WCCO digital update: Afternoon of July 9, 2024 02:31

CROOKSTON, Minn. — Authorities have identified a man they say was combative toward officers at northern Minnesota homeless shelter late last month, as well as the officer who shot and killed him — who had been on leave for fatally shooting another man a month prior.

Crookston police officer Nick Fladland deployed his Taser and fired his department handgun, killing 44-year-old Christopher Ryan Junkin, according to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Another officer, Corey Rich, deployed his Taser and Polk County deputy April Hansen used a chemical irritant and her Taser.

According to the BCA, Crookston police and the Polk County Sheriff's Office responded to reports of men fighting at a homeless shelter around 11:45 p.m. on June 30.

Upon arrival, law enforcement found Junkin, who the BCA says had been actively breaking items inside the shelter, including furniture. He ignored commands to stop and put his hands behind his back, investigators say.

The BCA says less lethal measures were used and the officers backed down a hallway, Junkin following them. That's when Fladland fired his handgun, striking Junkin.

Despite medical aid, Junkin died at the scene.

Fladland, who has five years of law enforcement experience, is on critical incident leave, according to the BCA. Fladland was involved in another deadly shooting on the morning of May 16, killing 35-year-old Andrew Scott Dale after he allegedly approached officers with a hatchet.

Body cameras captured parts of the encounter and are being reviewed as part of its investigation, the BCA said.  

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