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Roseville, Minn., police say man fatally shot by officers brandished gun

Wayne Malone was known as a helpful neighbor and as a man who was protective of his family. Each night before his wife left for work, neighbors said, he patrolled his Roseville apartment building's perimeter. In the winter, he shoveled its sidewalks.

Wayne Malone was known as a helpful neighbor and as a man who was protective of his family.

Each night before his wife left for work, neighbors said, he patrolled his Roseville apartment building's perimeter. In the winter, he shoveled its sidewalks.

But, his family and police said, the 55-year-old Navy veteran sometimes behaved strangely and last summer even threatened to kill residents of his building.

Then in September, he made a desperate call to his brother in Arkansas.

"He told me he was about to go off, because people in the neighborhood were making him upset," Charles Malone said. "He didn't elaborate on it. I couldn't get much out of him."


Thursday night, he was dead, shot by police responding to a 911 domestic disturbance call.

Roseville police said Malone was wielding a pistol when officers arrived at his Larpenteur Avenue apartment. Two officers fired seven to eight shots, witnesses said, and hit Malone twice -- once in the torso and once in the abdomen.

He died in the doorway of his apartment.

"The actions of Wayne Malone ended his life last night," Police Chief Rick Mathwig said Friday. He called the shooting "a justified use of deadly force."

The officers involved -- Grant Dattilo, a five-year veteran, and Joe Adams, a four-year veteran -- were placed on administrative leave, a routine practice when an officer is involved in a shooting, police said.

The building's owner and a caretaker said they were in disbelief that Malone would

threaten officers.

"Wayne wouldn't hurt a flea," said the owner, who declined to be identified.


He said he had rented to Malone, his wife and their daughter for 20 years.

Caretaker David Spriggs was watching television in his apartment 20 feet from Malone's unit about 8:30 p.m. when he heard gunshots in quick succession. He said he heard a bullet hit a couple of feet from his door and he peered into the hallway.

"What I saw was a man being handcuffed that was already dead," Spriggs said.

An officer told him to get back into his apartment, but Spriggs watched as police rolled Malone's body over.

After the shooting, police evacuated the building's almost 40 residents. Many spent more than seven hours on a Metro Transit bus because police wouldn't let them back into the three-story building as the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension -- the lead investigators in the case -- processed the scene.

"They took us to the SuperAmerica at Lexington and County Road B2 to use the bathrooms," said resident Tammy Everson. "We were basically held hostage."

She returned to her top-floor apartment after 4 a.m. Tenants on Malone's floor spent the night in American Red Cross housing in St. Paul and returned home about 9

A maintenance worker sweeps up Friday morning Nov. 18, 2011 as he repairs a wall near unit #6 at 655 W. Larpenteur Ave in Roseville. Two Roseville police officers fired six to seven shots at a man, identified by a neighbor as Wayne, because he appeared to be armed. The man died. Officers were responding to a 911 call from a woman who sounded like she was being choked. The investigation continues. (Pioneer Press: John Brewer)



That included Spriggs, who bristled when he read media reports that neighbors called Malone's patrolling of the property odd.

"If being concerned for your family is odd, then I'm odd," he said.

He said Malone was a "stand-up guy" and never caused problems. He owned a Taser, Spriggs said, but he didn't know about any handguns.

Spriggs and the building's owner said Malone's wife was a corrections officer and licensed to carry a gun.

Spriggs, Everson and the building's owner said Malone was a nice, quiet guy.

Roseville police said they've come across a much different man:

-- Feb. 19, 2010: Officers go to 655 W. Larpenteur Ave., Apt. 6, to search for a wanted suspect supposedly staying with Malone. When officers knock on the door, Malone opens it and charges with flailing hands and fists. Officers subdue Malone with a stun gun and take him to Regions Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation. Officers find a large knife inside the apartment entry on a shelf. When questioned about the knife, Malone replies, "You never know who is at your door in this place," according to police.

-- Aug. 6, 2011: Officers respond to a report of an unconscious man -- Malone. He was allegedly combative with paramedics, so officers apply soft restraints "so he is unable to hurt himself or others," according to police. Malone had a blood-alcohol level of 0.27, police said, and is taken to Regions for treatment.

-- Aug. 18, 2011: A caller tells police Malone is threatening to kill people in the apartment building, calling him "extremely agitated," police said. Officers take Malone to a hospital for a 72-hour psychiatric evaluation.

-- Sept. 7, 2011: Malone calls police about individuals having loud conversations outside his apartment and being confrontational. Officers investigate and determine the disturbance ceased before their arrival.

Mathwig categorized the police calls as mental health issues rather than criminal matters. Malone was never arrested, he said.

He said officers went to the building Thursday night to help someone but wound up ending a life.

Mathwig wouldn't say whether Malone pointed the gun at officers, citing the ongoing BCA investigation.

However, he said Malone "brandished" the gun in a way that made the officers feel threatened. They told him to drop the weapon, but he didn't comply, the chief said.

That's when officers opened fire.

Mathwig couldn't say what was happening in Malone's apartment before the shooting.

He said the unidentified person who called 911 "made the expression he or she was being strangled," Mathwig said. "It was a short, muffled call."

Charles Malone said his brother was born in Arkansas and served in the Navy for about 20 years but never saw any combat. The last he had heard, his brother was installing home security systems.

Malone's wife called the brother Friday to tell him of the death.

She said she and their college-age daughter were in the apartment when police arrived.

"She said she didn't call 911," Charles Malone said. "She said she was in the back of the room when police got there. When she heard the gunshots, she came out. She was pretty distraught."

The BCA was continuing its investigation Friday.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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