One person is dead after an officer-involved shooting early Sunday morning.
Shortly after 3 a.m. Sunday, Grand Forks officers were dispatched to the 2200 block of South 22nd Street in response to the report of a suicidal subject, armed with a firearm, police said in a press release Sunday.
Upon arrival, officers encountered two individuals near the intersection of South 22nd Street and 24th Avenue South. One of these individuals was armed with a firearm, and the other individual was in close proximity. The armed subject refused commands provided by the officers, and two officers discharged their firearms in response to a “perceived threat posed by the armed subject,” the department said.
The officers immediately rendered first aid to the subject and called paramedics, but the individual did not survive.
Grand Forks Police Chief Mark Nelson offered few details about the shooting during a press conference Sunday morning, noting that the department is still in the “early stages” of the investigation.
“Any specifics relevant to the case will be released as we move further through the investigation,” he said.
Nelson said there is no “textbook definition” for a “perceived threat.”
“A perceived threat would be any threat that that could be perceived by the general public as a threat toward themselves or another individual or the officers involved,” Nelson said.
Names of the officers and subject are not being released at this time, pending family notifications.
The two officers involved have been placed on administrative leave, per department policy. Nelson said the names will be released as they move forward in the investigation.
“In fairness to both the officers and the deceased, this is a trying time for them and their families so we want to take every opportunity we have to make sure all family members are notified,” Nelson said.
The Bureau of Criminal Investigation is investigating this officer-involved shooting, per department policy.
Nelson said once BCI completes its investigation it is then turned over to the state’s attorney’s office who will review the files and then make a determination about whether or not charges will be filed.
Nelson said that when an officer asks a person to do something, “voluntary compliance is the best way to ensure that officer safety and your own safety.”
“We don’t take this lightly, there’s a multitude of people’s lives who took a drastic turn this morning and that’s something we take very seriously,” he said.
This is the second officer-involved shooting in the area in less than a week. On Thursday, an officer-involved shooting in Devils Lake resulted in the death of Daniel A. Fuller, a 26-year-old from Devils Lake.
The last officer-involved shooting in Grand Forks was in 2015 when UND Police Officer Jerad Braaten fired his weapon into a pickup outside Altru Hospital after the driver, David James Elliott, "accelerated rapidly," ramming into a Grand Forks County sheriff's deputy's squad car.
Elliott survived the ordeal and later pleaded guilty to reckless endangerment charges.
The last officer-involved shooting in the city involving Grand Forks police was about 10 years ago, Nelson said. He said believes the department has had extensive training in “de-escalation.”
“I believe that many times officers have been placed in situations that could have turned tragic, but they were able to work through the situation and bring it to successful resolution,” he said.