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Fargo police officer won't be disciplined for shooting man wielding BB gun

FARGO -- A Fargo police officer who shot and seriously wounded a man wielding a BB gun with a laser light in September will not face discipline. An internal investigation by the Fargo Police Department found that Officer Patrick Thomas' shooting ...

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FARGO -- A Fargo police officer who shot and seriously wounded a man wielding a BB gun with a laser light in September will not face discipline.

An internal investigation by the Fargo Police Department found that Officer Patrick Thomas' shooting of 31-year-old Karmen Redshirt was "reasonable and necessary under the circumstances," according to a police document released this week.

Cass County State's Attorney Birch Burdick earlier declined to file criminal charges against Thomas. Burdick's decision was based on the findings of an investigation done by the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

On Sept. 28, Redshirt allegedly led police on a chase in a stolen vehicle before Thomas confronted him on foot in a parking lot next to the Pizza Hut at 4701 13th Ave. S.

Redshirt pointed what looked like a handgun with a laser light at Thomas multiple times, and Thomas told Redshirt to drop the gun, which turned out to be a BB pistol, about 19 times, according to an Oct. 26 letter Burdick sent to the BCI regarding his decision not to charge Thomas.

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With Redshirt not dropping the pistol and moving toward him, Thomas fired three shots at Redshirt, who suffered a wound to his abdomen, the letter stated.

Redshirt was hospitalized for about a week before he was transferred to the Cass County Jail, where he remains. Hospital records showed that his blood-alcohol level shortly after the shooting was 0.279 percent, the letter stated. The legal limit for driving is 0.08 percent.

Redshirt's brother, Cody Redshirt, has questioned Thomas' decision to shoot his brother and to fire three rounds. Despite this criticism, Fargo Police Chief David Todd signed off on his department's internal investigation Oct. 27, agreeing that the shooting was justified.

Redshirt, of Bismarck, has pleaded not guilty to felony charges of theft, reckless endangerment and two counts of terrorizing in Cass County District Court, as well as a misdemeanor charge of refusing to halt. His next court hearing is set for Jan. 5.

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