Airport shooting investigation clears officers of wrongdoing

Hertz rental car lot
The shooting took place outside of the Hertz Rent-A-Car lot in the Terminal 1 ramp at the Minneapolis - St. Paul International Airport.
Peter Cox | MPR News

The Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport police officers who shot a 36-year-old man as he allegedly drove his car toward them have been cleared to return to work, airport officials said Monday.

Airport spokesman Patrick Hogan said a Hennepin County Sheriff's Office investigation determined that Sgt. Roby Desubijana and Officers Robert Buth and Dylan Thomas acted properly given the circumstances they faced.

"Based on the information that they provided to us as well as our own review of the video of the shooting," Hogan said, "we've determined that the officers did act appropriately in using their firearms."

Mohamud Mohammed Maye of Maple Plain was injured in the April 25 encounter. He remains in custody at Hennepin County Medical Center with head and brain injuries, according to his attorney Nick Gegen.

Hennepin County prosecutors charged Maye with three counts of first degree assault and use of deadly force against peace officers. He has not yet appeared in court.

Gegen said Maye underwent surgery to treat severe frontal lobe and brain injuries that he suffered when officers shot him in the head.

"He's not totally lucid, he knows what's going on, he can engage in conversations," Gegen said. "He knows where he's at and the things he's been charged with. He understands that."

Airport police officers responded to a suspicious vehicle call in the rental car area of the parking ramp when Maye drove at them, according to Hennepin County prosecutors.

The criminal complaint said a yellow Chevrolet "suddenly accelerated towards an officer on bicycle patrol. The officer had to leap from his bicycle to avoid being struck by the yellow Chevrolet."

That officer's bicycle was struck and "thrown in the air," according to the complaint.

Maye also allegedly rammed into an unoccupied squad car, ignored repeated commands to stop and backed up his car to hit two officers who were standing outside of the squad car at the time, the complaint said.

Gegen said his initial investigation tells a different story of what happened based on interviews with several witnesses.

"They have stated that there definitely was some confusion both on the part of the officers and my client as to ... what they wanted him to do with regard to his car," Gegen said. "Whether it was go around, stop or get out of the vehicle, there was great confusion."

Hennepin County Sheriff's Office and airport officials have not released details of their internal investigation that cleared the officers of wrongdoing.

Sgt. Desubijana is a 10-year veteran of the airport police department. Officer Robert Buth has worked for MSP's police force for 16 years and Officer Dylan Thomas for one year.

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