VIRGINIA, MN — UPDATE 10:06 a.m. — The St. Louis County Attorney’s Office has determined Virginia Police Officer Nicholas Grivna acted in self-defense during a fatal shooting on November 27.
County Attorney Mark Rubin said Grivna acted justifiably following an investigation by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
Rubin says the BCA gave him the file to review on December 20, and said Officer Grivna’s actions were “justified, lawful, and authorized under the law, and probably saved an innocent citizen’s life.”
In the report, it states J. Scot Widmark apparently forced his way into a parked car occupied by June Ebnet, who then ran from the car and called 911 as she flagged down a passing vehicle, driven by Wade McBride.
The driver of the passing vehicle allowed Ebnet into his car, and then pulled up behind the vehicle she had been sitting in, where Widmark was still sitting.
Officer Lt. Kelly, who was responding to the call, also pulled up behind McBride’s vehicle.
The report goes on to say Widmark got out of Ebnet’s vehicle, apparently taking a large knife out of his clothing and began to approach McBride’s vehicle and Lt. Kelly.
Lt. Kelly then chased Widmark after he started running in the opposite direction.
In the report, it states Widmark allegedly took a nearby pedestrian in a headlock and brandished his knife and held the man as a hostage and human shield, and also began making stabbing motions with his knife toward the hostage.
As other officers arrived at the scene, including Officer Grivna, who brought a police rifle at the request of Lt. Kelly, the report states Grivna tried to de-escalate the situation for over a minute. Grivna also tried to convince Widmark to drop the knife.
Authorities say Widmark didn’t verbally respond and increased his stabbing-like motions toward the hostage.
According to the report, Grivna took one shot from his rifle when he was convinced the life of the hostage was in danger and fatally hit Widmark in the head.
The report concludes that the use of deadly force was fully justified under statutory federal and state case law.
We’ve uploaded the full report and review below:
8:47 a.m. — St. Louis County Attorney Mark Rubin told the Mesabi Daily News he plans to release his findings into whether or not a Virginia police officer used a justifiable use of force during a deadly shooting in November.
Authorities said on November 27, Virginia police officer Nicholas Grivna shot and killed J Scot Alan Widmark after Widmark allegedly took a hostage and had a knife on the 300 block of 2nd Street South in Virginia.
Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension officials reported finding a knife at the scene.
According to the Mesabi Daily News, the BCA finished investigating the officer-involved shooting and provided the facts without recommendation to Rubin on December 20.
The Mesabi Daily News report Rubin said he then called on the “services of a now retired prosecutor,” who assessed the case and drew a recommendation earlier this week.
Rubin is now reviewing the evidence once again to make his decision.
The BCA reported the police officers were not wearing body cameras. Officials were investigating whether or not squad car cameras captured the incident.
Grivna has been with the department for five years and is on administrative leave as the county attorney reviews the case.
A GoFundMe page has been started for 41-year-old Widmark, hoping to raise money for his burial and “justice fund.”