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Pipestone County shooting determined to be justified

PIPESTONE -- The October shooting of a suspect by Pipestone County Sheriff's Deputy Michael LaRock has been determined to be justified, according to information released Tuesday by Sheriff Dan Delaney.

The Lincoln County Attorney's Office, which reviewed the case to avoid conflict of interest, declined charges related to the non-fatal shooting of Jay Joel Johannsen on Oct. 12, 2011.

LaRock had responded to a report of a domestic disturbance in the 700 block of Second Avenue, the home of Johannsen and his spouse. At the scene, LaRock found Johannsen backing his vehicle out of the driveway, but the man stopped and emerged from the vehicle with a meat cleaver, Delaney's report states.

Johannsen ignored repeated instructions to drop the cleaver and proceeded toward the house, where LaRock believed Johann-sen's spouse to be. The deputy attempted to tase the suspect, but Johannsen's jacket was too thick. When the man continued toward the house, LaRock fired his weapon, striking Johannsen in the back.

At the request of Delaney, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigated the incident. The Lincoln County Attor-ney's Office reviewed the findings, determining there was justifiable concern on the part of the deputy, based on the demeanor and conduct of the suspect. The fact that the deputy had already fired his taser and was without immediate assistance from other offi-cers at the time was also considered.

LaRock has returned to full duty after being put on administrative leave following the incident, which is standard administrative procedure.