Grand jury: Apple Valley officer legally justified in shooting death
Armed man was shot after report of domestic abuse
A Dakota County grand jury concluded that an Apple Valley police officer was legally justified when he used deadly force in shooting a 48-year-old Apple Valley man when responding to a domestic disturbance April 29.
An officer shooting that results in a death is reviewed by a grand jury, according to long-standing policy of the Dakota County Attorney’s Office.
The officer, Tommie Booth, shot Carl Anthony Tatum when Tatum had fired two shots toward Booth that narrowly missed inside an Apple Valley townhome, according to the incident investigation that was filed by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension as the lead agency and assisted by the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office.
“This was a domestic incident that quickly escalated into a life and death situation as a result of actions taken by Carl Tatum,” Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom said in a Thursday press release. “Both Officers Tommie Booth and Tara Becker acted decisively and professionally in all aspects of the actions they took during this incident. Both of these officers should be commended for their heroic actions in this traumatic incident which tragically, but justifiably, resulted in the death of Carl Tatum.”
Booth shot nine rounds toward Tatum, six bullets struck Tatum while the other three hit Tatum’s gun, a Ruger 9 millimeter pistol, a couch and a wall inside the home. The other responding Apple Valley officer, Tara Becker, fired a Taser shot toward Tatum at the same time, but only one of the two prongs attached so no electric discharge occurred.
Minnesota law authorizes law enforcement officers to use deadly force when it is done to prevent an act which exposes the law enforcement officer or another to death or great bodily harm. Minnesota law also authorizes a law enforcement officer to use deadly force if the officer believed the use of deadly force was necessary to apprehend a person believed to have committed a felony involving the use or threatened use of deadly force. Under Minnesota law, domestic assault involving strangulation and assault with a deadly weapon are both felonies involving the use of deadly force.
According to the investigation report:
The two officers were responding to a 911 call made by an Apple Valley woman at approximately 5:45 p.m. to report that she was the victim of domestic strangulation.
Upon arrival, Becker spoke with the female victim in her car outside the townhome and Booth spoke with Tatum, at first inside the townhome and then on the front steps outside.
After consulting with each other, the officers concluded there was probable cause to arrest Tatum.
Booth asked Tatum to stand on the front steps, at which time he stated loudly “(expletive) …* this,” turned and ran inside the townhome.
Booth and Becker ran after Tatum who was running up the steps toward the living room. Booth tried unsuccessfully to grab Tatum’s sweatshirt to stop him as he was running up the flight of stairs toward the living room.
Booth loudly told Tatum to stop. He did not, but continued into the living room toward the loveseat he had previously been sitting on when the police officers arrived. Tatum reached under the cushion of the loveseat, pulled out a pistol and turned toward the two police officers, raising the gun in the direction of Booth as he did so.
Booth, who was standing at the top of the stairs, had drawn his service revolver, and Becker, who was standing near the top of the steps, had drawn her Taser when the shooting occurred.
Immediately after shots were fired, Booth and Becker secured Tatum and began to administer first aid. Paramedics and other police officers arrived within minutes and Tatum was transported to Regions Hospital in St. Paul where he died later that evening.