A North Dakota Highway Patrol trooper is on administrative leave after shooting and killing a man around 8 p.m. Tuesday.
According to Highway Patrol, the trooper was helping three Morton County Sheriff’s Deputies pursue a reckless driving call that began near Hebron.
They pursued the van heading east on I-94 until spike strips deflated one of the tires, slowing the van down. A driving pursuit maneuver by officers brought the vehicle to a stop.
At that point, deputies gave the driver several loud commands to put his hands up. According to the authorities, the man had a gun.
Neither the Morton County Sheriff nor a Highway Patrol Major could say how deputies knew the driver had a gun — just that he did.
The trooper, whose name is not being released, fired one round from his weapon, killing 45-year-old Craig Knutson of Billings, Montana.
Authorities say they recovered a revolver from the scene.
Knutson was the only person in the vehicle.
The North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation is currently investigating the incident, which is policy in situations like this.
The officer will stay on leave pending that investigation, as well as a review by the Morton County State’s Attorney.
During a press conference at the Capitol, Highway Patrol Major Tom Iverson and Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier took questions, but could not say at this time exactly why the trigger was pulled.
“This afternoon, we’re still really in the early stages of the investigation. We’re making sure we get the officer’s reports, the video and that type of information all compiled so that investigation can be completed. So right now there’s not a lot of information or other details that will be released at this point,” Kirchmeier said.
KX News requested dash-camera footage of the incident through a formal request to both Highway Patrol and the Morton County Sheriff’s Office.
Both have denied the request, citing state law exempting the video from public record until the investigation is complete.
Highway Patrol said the last time a trooper-involved shooting happened was in 2010.