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Shooting by Duluth officer was justified, report says

Forum News Service DULUTH, Minn. -- An investigation has determined a Duluth police officer was justified in his decision to use deadly force in August, when he fired two non-fatal shots at a man who was wielding a knife and threatening to kill h...

Forum News Service

DULUTH, Minn. -- An investigation has determined a Duluth police officer was justified in his decision to use deadly force in August, when he fired two non-fatal shots at a man who was wielding a knife and threatening to kill himself.

Officer Marc Johnson shot 34-year-old Joe Zontelli on Aug. 11; police said he arrived at Zontelli’s home and found him wielding a knife and threatening to kill himself.

St. Louis County Attorney Mark Rubin released a letter Tuesday supporting the finding of a Duluth Police Department investigation into the early-morning shooting.

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The suspect was taken to the hospital in critical condition.

“Officers could see blood pooling from the other side of (a) closed door,” Rubin wrote in his summary. “Concerned for the suspect’s life, the door was forced open.”

The suspect held a knife and “brought it upwards toward the officers,” Rubin wrote.

Rubin agreed that Johnson was “fearing for his safety, the safety of others and his canine,” when he fired at the suspect.

"The decision he made to employ deadly force was, in my professional opinion, legally and factually justified. It was reasonable under the totality of the circumstances," he wrote.

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