A Duluth man said he was trying to lock his apartment door when a police officer shot him from the hallway.
The officer was responding Saturday to a reported domestic disturbance when he shot through the closed door and hit the unarmed suspect, state authorities said.
“I was standing by my door. I was stressed out, mad,” the man told WDIO-TV in Duluth. “I didn’t realize that the cops were even coming in the first place, and I went to lock my door, and when I locked my door, I heard, ‘Shots fired,’ … and I got hit in the shoulder by one of the bullets.”
The state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) on Tuesday released its preliminary findings in the incident in the Kingsley Heights Apartments downtown.
The suspect, a 23-year-old man, was treated at a nearby hospital for a shoulder wound before being booked into jail on suspicion of domestic assault and then released as the investigation continues, the BCA said. The Star Tribune generally does not name suspects before they are charged.
The officer who wounded the man was identified by the BCA as Tyler Leibfried, a five-year member of the Duluth Police Department. He was placed on administrative leave.
According to a BCA statement summarizing its initial findings and in answers to follow-up questions from the Star Tribune:
Police received multiple 911 calls about a physical domestic incident. Officers indicated they heard two gunshots, and a witness reported loud sounds from inside the apartment.
Leibfried was in the hallway and fired a shot through the closed and windowless apartment door that hit the man in the shoulder, the BCA said. The agency did not say what prompted the officer to shoot.
The man was taken by ambulance to the hospital.
The television station obtained a video from a neighbor that appears to show the moments after the gunfire and includes an officer saying, “He shot at us, and I shot him through the door.”
However, a statement from the BCA read, “Based on the preliminary investigation, no shots were fired from inside the apartment.”
Authorities located no guns in the apartment nor anyone else inside, the statement continued. The BCA did note there was a hatchet just inside the door, but the agency made no reference to it as a potential weapon.
The person who reported being the victim of a domestic incident had left the apartment before law enforcement arrived and was not injured.
Portions of the incident were captured on officers’ body cameras. That video has yet to be released.