Friend of man killed in 212 police shooting speaks

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. - While BCA investigators still remain tight lipped about the Highway 212 police chase turned shootout last Friday, friends of the couple killed are coming forward to provide more insight.

Matthew Serbus, 36, and Dawn Pfister, 34, died of multiple gunshot wounds after being pursued by police from Chaska to Eden Prairie beginning just after 7:30 a.m. Friday. Their red Saab crashed and the shooting followed.

Pauly Hoffman, a childhood friend of Serbus, remembers him as fun, outgoing and athletic. The two played hockey together from an earlier age in the Osseo schools and were also in the same bowling league.

"Always a nice guy, people loved him, fun to be around," said Hoffman. "Matt and I rolled together in high school. We both made decisions to use drugs and alcohol. We both went separate paths and continued to do what we were doing in high school."

Both eventually became sober, but Hoffman recently worried Serbus may have relapsed.

"On Jan. 21, I got a message from his girlfriend Dawn on Facebook. They needed help in Rochester. They asked for my help," said Hoffman.

They asked Hoffman for money to get out of jail. Hoffman said he had also recently bought Serbus a bus ticket to get home for Christmas. Serbus told Hoffman he just landed a new job and he was beginning a new chapter. So how the couple encountered a violent end, killed in a police shootout is baffling to loved ones. In Wisconsin, Dawn Pfister's friends say the unknown brings more loss.

"Nobody can really answer questions because they're both gone," said Amanda Brushwood, a friend of Pfister. "It's rough. I couldn't imagine how her kids feel without a mom, knowing they'll never be able to see her again or talk to her."

As Pauly Hoffman waits for facts to emerge, he considers his own journey. At his darkest time of addiction, he recalls brandishing a gun to police officers and says he could have easily gone down the same road as his friend. He asks the public to wait for the facts before speculation.

"The choices we make in life are important. He knows he is not perfect and wanted to do better," said Hoffman. "He was a great person, not always in our lives can we control the outcome. Sometimes, we don't get what we deserve."

Serbus' criminal history dates back to 1996. He's been charged with felonies ranging from check forgery and theft to assault. He had two warrants out for his arrest in Olmstead County and Dakota County.

"He didn't have a violent history. He received stolen goods and did what he did to support a drug habit," said Hoffman. "It was never his intention, was never to hurt anybody."

The BCA still hasn't released any details of what led to the shooting. A trooper with the State Patrol, a Carver County Sheriff's deputy and two Chaska police officers are on administrative leave, which is standard procedure following an officer involved shooting.


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