A Pipestone County Sheriff's deputy has returned from administrative leave to full duty after the Lincoln County Attorney's Office determined an Oct. 12, 2011, discharge of his firearm was justified, a news release from the Pipestone County Sheriff's Office said.
Deputy Michael LaRock had responded to a report of domestic abuse at the Jay Joel Johannsen home in Pipestone on the night of Oct. 12, the Sheriff's Office said.
Pipestone County dispatch had informed LaRock that Johannsen had a knife. Johannsen was backing his vehicle out of the driveway when LaRock arrived, but stopped and emerged from the vehicle with a meat cleaver, the Sheriff's Office said.
Johannsen ignored repeated instruction by LaRock to drop the cleaver. LaRock tried to tase Johannsen, but failed because of the thickness of Johannsen's coat, and Johannsen continued toward the house.
LaRock then fired his weapon, striking Johannsen in the back, the Sheriff's Office said.
The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigated the shooting at the request of Pipestone County Sheriff Dan Delaney.
The Lincoln County Attorney's Office reviewed the findings of the investigation, and in making its determination, said there was justifiable concern on the part of LaRock that based on the demeanor and conduct, including threatening conduct toward LaRock, that the cleaver could be used to commit great bodily harm, and that LaRock had already expended his Taser and was without immediate assistance from other officers at the time of the incident.