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DA says fatal shooting by SWAT officers justified (UPDATE)

MENOMONIE, Wis. (AP) — The fatal shooting of a man last month during a search for drugs by SWAT team officers was justified, a prosecutor has ruled.

Dunn County District Attorney James Peterson made the determination following an investigation by agents from the state Department of Justice. Dennis Grohn, 32, was killed when officers executed a “no knock” search warrant for drugs at his home in the town of Red Cedar Feb. 12.

“I have concluded that the officers involved acted in accordance with the law and their duty as sworn law enforcement officers and that the fatal shooting of Dennis Grohn, while tragic, was justified under the circumstances,” Peterson wrote in a letter to Sheriff Dennis Smith. “More specifically the officers who used deadly force were reasonable in their actions in the light of the law and facts of this matter.”

Investigators concluded sheriff’s Deputy Peter Forbes shot Grohn after Grohn charged at him in a garage on the property, the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram reported.

According to Peterson’s letter, Grohn was sitting in a chair directly across from Forbes as the deputy entered the garage.

“Forbes stated that instantly Grohn got up and charged forward making a growling or grrr sound which Forbes described as a ‘war cry,’ ” Peterson said. “Forbes stated it was like someone had turned the violent knob all the way up.”

Grohn ran into Forbes with force and speed and the deputy said he could see that Grohn’s eyes were focused on the officer’s rifle. The two struggled on the floor of the garage. Fall Creek Officer Adam Prorok opened the garage door and said he saw Grohn’s hand on the deputy’s rifle, so he shot Grohn once, investigators said.

“Prorok stated he felt 100 percent fear for his and Forbes’ lives because Grohn’s hand was on Forbes’ rifle,” the letter stated. “Prorok thought Grohn was going to shoot Forbes. Prorok stated that while standing very close to Grohn, he saw a clear shot and fired his weapon at Grohn. Prorok stated that once he shot, he could see the threat stopped so he discontinued any further shooting.”

An autopsy done at the Ramsey County Medical Examiner’s Office in St. Paul, Minn., determined Grohn died of two gunshot wounds.

Information from: Leader-Telegram,

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