Duluth police officer charged with two felonies related to a shooting

Updated: November 30, 2020 10:36 PM
Created: November 30, 2020 12:30 PM

Charges have been filed against a Duluth police officer for a shooting that injured an unarmed man in September.

Tyler Foster Leibfried faces one count of felony Intentional Discharge of Firearm that Endangers Safety and one count of felony Reckless Discharge of Firearm Within a Municipality.

This stems from a shooting through an apartment door. Jared Fyle was inside the apartment, and ended up getting shot in the back.

Court documents say Leibfried responded to the Kingsley Heights Apartments on reports of a physical domestic assault.

The documents reveal for the first time that officers spoke to Fyle's girlfriend before the shooting. She told them she wasn't assaulted or hurt. Leibfried and another officer then went to talk to Fyle, and retrieve his girlfriend's belongings from Fyle's apartment.

Before knocking on the door, Leibfried and the other officer say they heard two loud noises they described as a "bang or firearm." Leibfried then allegedly fired a total of five or six shots into the door.

WDIO News spoke with Fyle back in September before he obtained a lawyer. He says he was simply trying to lock his door by kicking it, and that's where the loud bang came from.

"I was standing by my door. I was stressed out, mad. I didn't realize that the cops were even coming in the first place, and I went to go lock my door, and when I locked my door, I heard shots fired. Like the officer said 'shots fired' and then started shooting at my door," Fyle said.  

The case was reviewed by Vern Swanum, a former prosecutor and retired assistant St. Louis County attorney. He and St. Louis County Attorney Mark Rubin have concluded that Leibfried's conduct fails the "objective reasonable officer" standard, and that it was not an objectively reasonable use of deadly force.

"Mr Fyle is thankful that Mark Rubin, and the St. Louis County Attorney's Office has taken this step towards holding Officer Leibfried accountable for his criminal behavior," Fyle's attorney Andrew Poole said in a statement, adding, "We do not believe, however, that the charged crimes adequately address the act of purposefully shooting an unarmed person through a closed door." 

Duluth police sent a statement, that says, in part, "With the criminal charges today, the Duluth Police Department will have access to the full investigation for the first time. The Duluth Police Department is immediately commencing an administrative investigation and
anticipate our findings in the next 7-10 days. Officer Leibfried will remain on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the administrative investigation."

“Officer Leibfried is a dedicated police officer who serves the Duluth community with compassion and pride. The Duluth Police Union continues to support Officer Leibfried through the due process of the internal investigation being conducted by the Duluth Police Department," the Duluth Police Union sent in a statement.

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