COLUMBIA HEIGHTS, Minn. - The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has provided KARE 11 News, through a data practices request, body camera video and case files associated with the November 2015 officer-involved shooting of a 45-year-old man.
Earlier this month, the Anoka County Attorney announced a grand jury cleared the two officers who fired at Michael Kirvelay. Sgt. Erik Johnston, who fired one shot, was wearing a body camera. Fridley police officer Shawn Murphy, who fired three shots, was not wearing one.
Kirvelay was holding an unloaded air soft gun at the time of the shooting. It was a replica of a Smith and Wesson 45 caliber pistol and did not have an orange tip.
The 90 minutes of body camera video show the 12 minutes leading up to the shooting and the aftermath.
As Columbia Heights police enter, they hear a woman's voice scream, "Yeah, we are scared, please."
One woman escapes out the back, and that's when officers apparently see Kirvelay is armed.
"Put the gun down and come out. I want to see your hands," Columbia Heights police officer Hashim Abdullahi told him.
The body cameras worn by the Columbia Heights police officers don't give a clear look at Kirvelay, who was at the end of the hallway inside his sister's cleaning business with one sister still inside the next room.
Officer Abdullahi and his partner Jacqueline Thurmes were both wearing body cameras. For
"I need a favor Michael. Put down the gun. Put it down," Abdullahi said.
"I'm scared, sir," Kirvelay responded.
"Listen this is the police department. I need you to put that down," Abdullahi said.
For nine minutes, officers Abdullahi and Thurmes say upwards of a hundred times, "Put down the gun," -- "Show both hands" -- or -- "Lie on the ground."
"Put that down," Abdullahi said.
"No," Kirvelay responded.
"Put down the gun, Michael," Thurmes said.
"No," Kirvelay said. "It's just a BB gun."
Kirvelay says three times it is a BB gun, and he refuses to put it down. State investigators created an animation in the case file to show how similar Kirvelay's gun looks compared to a real 45-caliber.
"I'm asking you nicely. That thing looks like a gun. I need you to put it down," Abdullahi said. And as Kirvelay began to approach him, he added, "Do not come near me. I'm telling you that right now. Throw it down on the ground.
Kirvelay still said no.
At some point, Columbia Heights Sgt. Erik Johnston and Fridley Officer Shawn Murphy entered the building.
Sgt. Johnston took the first shot. Then Officer Murphy fired three times.
According to police reports, both officers say right before the shooting, Kirvelay pulled his sister Denise Larson into hallway and used her as a shield.
She told police afterwards that Kirvelay had a gun to the back of her neck.
But the body cameras didn't show that sequence or any clear view of what officers were looking at as they fired, as Sgt. Johnston's camera was blocked by some clothing hanging in the room.
And Murphy, the Fridley officer, wasn't wearing a camera.
Kirvelay's family has maintained the shooting was unjustified. They say their brother, who was found to have meth in his system, has mental issues. They believe police could have handled him without using deadly force.