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Ramsey County attorney to review police shooting of elderly man


Protestors gather in March to demand juttice for 65-year-old Yia Xiong, who was killed by St. paul police in February. (Elijah Todd-Walden/Center for Broadcast Journalism)

The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has concluded its investigation into the death of Yia Xiong, who was shot by two St. Paul police officers on Feb 11.


The results of the investigation are now in the hands of Ramsey County Attorney John Choi, who will decide whether or not to pursue charges. In an unusual move, Attorney General Keith Ellison agreed to participate in the case review at Choi’s request.


Xiong was shot less than a minute after officers arrived at the Winslow Commons upon receiving reports of a man threatening people with a knife. Xiong exited his apartment with a large cooking knife, prompting the two rookie officers to open fire, one with a taser and the other with a rifle.

Protestors gather in March to demand juttice for 65-year-old Yia Xiong, who was killed by St. paul police in February. (Elijah Todd-Walden/Center for Broadcast Journalism)

Since the shooting, community members have called for the removal of the two officers, but St. Paul Police Chief Henry Axel said that the methods applied to the situation were in line with standard police practice. He issued a statement after the body cam footage was released, saying the department was “keeping the family and friends of Mr. Xiong in our thoughts as they grieve and look for answers.”


Family members of Xiong say that he did not speak English and was deaf in one ear. Bodycam footage showed that Xiong turned away from officers and went back into his apartment after being told to drop the knife. Police then kicked the door to stop it from shutting.


Xiong then reemerged from the apartment with the knife, where he was shot by the officers.


The 65-year-old Hmong veteran served during the Vietnam War. His nephew, Lue Yang, said that was where Xiong suffered an injury that caused him to lose his hearing in one ear and gave him severe PTSD. The Winslow commons is reserved for elderly people with disabilities.


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