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Grand Forks state's attorney finds officers were justified to use force in February shooting

“After a thorough review of the facts and law, the State's Attorney’s Office has concluded the actions of the deputies on scene were objectively reasonable and justified in light of the circumstances,” the state’s attorney’s office said in a news release.

Grand Forks County Courthouse
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GRAND FORKS — The Grand Forks State's Attorney’s Office says the actions of deputies involved in a late February shooting were “reasonable and justified in light of the circumstances.”

On Feb. 27, Grand Forks County Sheriff's Office Cpl. Brandon Rakoczy and Deputy Dustin Wadholm arrived at a home about 5 miles south of Grand Forks near Thompson, and were immediately warned by the homeowner that the suspect had a gun, according to a news release from the state’s attorney’s office.

Deputies gave Joseph Espinoza “numerous commands to drop the gun” and he refused to comply, authorities said.

According to the news release, the deputies had retreated several yards back to their squad car. Espinoza allegedly continued to approach the deputies and pointed his firearm at deputies. Both deputies then fired their duty weapons at Espinoza. Espinoza was shot in his left leg.

“After a thorough review of the facts and law, the State's Attorney’s Office has concluded the actions of the deputies on scene were objectively reasonable and justified in light of the circumstances,” the state’s attorney’s office said in the news release.

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Espinoza was then arrested and is facing a litany of charges, including theft of property, robbery, burglary, attempted theft of property, theft of a firearm, terrorizing, reckless endangerment, criminal mischief, reckless driving, driving under suspension and leaving the scene of an accident.

Espinoza’s charges are pending and he remains in the Grand Forks County Correctional Center.

READ MORE GRAND FORKS COUNTY SHERIFF'S COVERAGE

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