Duluth Police Release IDs in Officer-Involved Shooting

Updated: 08/12/2014 11:12 PM
Created: 08/12/2014 6:32 PM

Duluth Police Chief Gordon Ramsay answered questions about the office-involved shooting from Monday morning.

The name of the subject of the shooting, Joe Zontelli, was released on Tuesday. He is 34-years-old, and is expected to survive his two gunshot wounds, according to Ramsay.

Also, the name of the officer who fired his duty weapon was also released. His name is Marc Johnson, and he is a seven-year veteran of the force.

"Officer Johnson feared for his safety, and the safety of the other officers in the room," Ramsay explained.

Here's what lead up to the shooting, according to authorities. Police responded to the Zontelli home at 3202 Piedmont Avenue, around 3:49am on Monday. They initially thought it was a domestic violence call with weapons, but upon arriving, had discovered no physical altercation had occurred, according to Ramsay.

Police reported that they saw Zontelli run to the basement with something in his hands, and locked himself into a room. They reported that he had knife wounds already.

"The officer heard him yelling he was going to bleed out. They also saw blood pooling under the door," Ramsay said. "They sent in a K-9 unit to try and distract Zontelli. But that didn't work. They did have a plan to help him. The important thing to know is their intent was to help him, so he didn't bleed out. But it didn't turn out the way they wanted."

According to an earlier press statement, officers ordered Zontelli to drop the knife he was holding, and when he didn't comply, that's when Johnson fired his duty weapon.

"Preliminarily, it doesn't look like there are any issues with the way things went down, preliminarily," according to Ramsay.

After Johnson fired the two shots, officers immediately provided first aid to Zontelli, according to an earlier press release.

"I have spoken to his wife and father, and expressed my sympathies for the situation," said Ramsay. "We also have concern for our officers, because they too are affected by this."

When asked about the possible use of tasers, Ramsay said they don't always work, and in life threatening situations, you can't count on them.

No one else was in the home at the time of the shooting.

Ramsay said that Zontelli was a man in crisis. "Law enforcement had transported him to Duluth hospitals twice in the past month, for suicide threats."

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating the case, per the Duluth Police's request.

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