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Minnesota police shoot, kill biology teacher during struggle at hotel

MANKATO, Minn. — A man who was fatally shot by a police officer in Minnesota during a struggle at a hotel was identified Monday as a biology teacher from the Minneapolis area.

Chase Tuseth, 33, was shot early Saturday after an officer was called to a disturbance at a motel in Mankato, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension confirmed Monday.

Tuseth was a 2008 graduate of Minnesota State University and taught at Tokata Learning Center, an alternative high school in the Shakopee School District. He previously taught for three years at Integrated Arts Academy in Chaska.

“He was an innovative teacher,” Tokata Principal Eric Serbus told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “He was always looking for the next and best way to connect with students.”

The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which is investigating the shooting, identified the officer as 30-year veteran Gary Schnorenberg of the Mankato Department of Public Safety. Schnorenberg is on standard administrative leave, the agency said.

Investigators said Schnorenberg was called to a Country Inn & Suites in Mankato about 4 a.m. Saturday on a report that Tuseth, who was white, was behind the lobby counter and was throwing things. Schnorenberg encountered Tuseth in a hallway near the pool and, after successfully using a stun gun, was trying to handcuff Tuseth when Tuseth broke free and began hitting and kicking the officer. Schnorenberg fired, striking Tuseth, who died despite attempts to revive him at the scene. Schnorenberg was hurt during the altercation and treated at a hospital.

The Mankato Department of Public Safety does not use body cameras, the state agency noted. No weapons were found at the scene.

Tuseth’s uncle, Mark Liptrap of Spokane, Washington, told The Free Press of Mankato that while he does not dispute the possibility that his nephew was intoxicated, he questions why police needed to use deadly force.

“Chase was just a great kid. He was quiet, just polite,” Liptrap said.

Tuseth’s car was found in downtown Mankato, miles from the motel. Liptrap said he suspects his nephew took a cab or got a ride with friends to the motel because he did not want to drive.

“In one sense, he was trying to be responsible,” Liptrap said.

Tuseth’s roommate, Luke Mikkola, was out of town when the shooting happened. Mikkola said Tuseth was not a violent person and owned “no weapons, no guns, no knife, no nothing.”

CBS Minnesota reports that Liptrap wrote on Facebook of his nephew: “He was a great kid, a teacher and terrific athlete. He will be greatly missed. Although I am biased, I believe this to be a case of excessive force.”

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