County Attorney finds officers justified in shooting

By: News Director Larissa Donovan

BEMIDJI– Beltrami County Attorney David Hanson, in a letter to the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, said Bemidji Police Officer Bidal Duran and Beltrami County Sheriff’s Deputy Brandon Newhouse were legally justified in the shooting of 34-year-old Vernon May of Red Lake.

According to a summary of evidence from the county attorney, on November 28, just before midnight, Officer Duran observed a vehicle with a non-working brake light and initiated a traffic stop, turning on his body camera as he approached the vehicle. Officer Duran was able to immediately identify the three occupants of the vehicle: Dustin Jourdain, Nikos Reyes and Vernon May.

Dispatch informed Officer Duran that May had an active felony warrant, and Officer Duran requested backup. Deputy Brandon Newhouse arrived on the scene, and, in requesting May to step out of the vehicle, observed that May had a gun in his possession. After a struggle over the weapon where May repeatedly said “shoot me,” May was shot ten times, nine times by Officer Duran and once by Deputy Newhouse.

No charges will be filed against Officer Duran or Deputy Newhouse for their use of deadly force.

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