Duluth Police Officer Tyler Leibfried (pictured) is facing felony charges for shooting through an apartment door during a domestic disturbance call last September
Shocking body camera footage captured the moment a Minnesota police officer opened fire six times through the door of an apartment, injuring an unarmed man inside who was shouting for the bullets to stop.
The shooting unfolded at an apartment in downtown Duluth last September, when Officer Tyler Leibfried and his partner were responding to a call about a possible domestic disturbance call.
The man living in the apartment, 23-year-old Jared Fyle, was struck in the shoulder when Leibfried shot through his door.
Leibfried, an Army Reserves veteran, was subsequently hit with two felony charges for intentional discharge of a firearm that endangers safety and reckless discharge of a gun within a municipality.
St Louis County prosecutors presented bodycam video from the incident in court this month after Leibfried’s attorneys filed a motion to dismiss the charges, arguing that the officer was justified because he believed he heard gunfire in Fyle’s apartment.
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Body camera footage captured the moment Leibfried opened fire six times through the door of an apartment, injuring an unarmed man inside who was shouting for the bullets to stop
The video opens with Leibfried (pictured) approaching Jared Lyle’s apartment while responding to a possible domestic disturbance call on September 13, 2020
The footage opens with Leibfried and his partner, Officer Cory Lindsholm, walking up to a third-floor unit at the Kingsley Heights Apartments complex on the night of September 13.
The officers determined that there was no cause for arrest but wanted to speak with Frye, according to court documents.
As they approach the door two loud bangs are heard in the video and both officers are seen running for cover because they said they believed the sounds were gunfire.
Leibfried is heard calling out ‘shots fired’ on his radio before pulling out his gun and pointing it at the door.
He then fires an initial round of four shots into the door before Fyle is heard crying out ‘Stop!’ at least nine times from inside.
Fyle yelped ‘ow!’ before Leibfried fired two more shots into the door.
‘Please! Stop!’ Fyle shouts. ‘Can I open the door? Stop! Ow! I got shot! Open the door! Open the door! Please! Stop!’
Leibfried is then heard calling for medical attention over his radio as Lindsholm runs over and others in the building shout in alarm.
Other officers arrived at the scene and Lyle was taken to a hospital. Six months later he still has a bullet lodged in his shoulder, according to court documents.
As the officers approach Lyle’s door two loud bangs are heard in the video and both officers are seen running for cover because they said they believed the sounds were gunfire
Officer Cory Lindsholm is seen taking cover outside the apartment after the bangs rang out
Fyle initially fired four shots into the door before discharging an additional two seconds later
Fyle insisted that the loud bangs the officers heard were the result of him kicking his door to make sure it was shut.
The videos showed the officers did not announce their presence at any point Leibfried started shooting.
Leibfried’s defense attorney Paul Engh argued that the officer was justified in using his weapon because he believed he heard gunshots.
But St Louis County Attorney Mark Rubin called Leibfried’s actions ‘unreasonable’ and said he used ‘poor judgment, fueled by fear’.
Rubin noted that Leibfried waited a full 10 seconds between hearing the initial bangs and opening fire, and that he continued shooting even after he heard Fyle cry out.
He said the officer had ‘time to see that no shots had been fired through the door from inside the apartment, time to announce himself as a police officer, and time to retreat further’.
Rubin also pointed out that Lindsholm – who heard the same bangs Leibfried did – only drew his weapon but did not discharge it.
In a report about the incident Lindsholm said: ‘I didn’t know for sure where the shots were coming from, so I wasn’t gonna just start putting rounds into this apartment just on a guess.’
Sixth Judicial District Judge Sally Tarnowski ruled against dropping the charges against Leibfried on March 15 after determining that there was sufficient evidence for the case to proceed.
‘The pause before the first volley of four shots, the pause before the second volley of two shots, combined with the closed door and the victim’s later pleas for help, raise the question of whether or not defendant’s actions were objectively reasonable,’ Tarnowski wrote in her decision, according to the West Central Tribune.
‘The court recognizes the myriad dangers inherent to the job of a police officer. The court respects the immense difficulties raised by split second decisions in circumstances where the lives of citizens and the lives of officers are in danger.
‘However, based upon the complaint and the record before it, the court concludes that defendant’s motion to dismiss must be denied.’
Duluth Police Chief Mike Tusken acknowledged that officers sometimes make mistakes but stopped short of condemning Leibfried’s actions directly.
‘You get under stress, you get auditory exclusion, you get tunnel vision,’ Tusken said. ‘The human condition is not perfect and we will make errors and we will continue to make errors.
‘We expect that people will help make better decisions with the longer durations of time that they have to stop, slow down, to analyze.’
Leibfried, who has been with the Duluth Police Department for five years, was placed on leave ‘indefinitely’.
He is due to appear in court on April 15 and faces a maximum sentence of four years in prison if convicted of both firearm charges.
Fyle retained an attorney and has not ruled out the possibility of legal action against the department, according to local media reports.
‘Mr Fyle is fortunate to be alive and his primary focus in on recovering from the trauma caused by this shooting,’ Fyle’s attorney, Andrew Poole, told KBJR6.
‘In addition, and while some local officials have been conspicuously silent about what happened to Mr Fyle, we continue to hope this matter will further the collective conversation regarding appropriate police training and supervision.’