BCA investigates fatal police shooting in Virginia, Minn.

BCA investigates officer-involved shooting in Virginia
The scene of a shooting on the 200 block of South Third Avenue West in Virginia Tuesday evening.
Clint Austin | Duluth News Tribune

Updated: 6:55 p.m. | Posted: 6:30 a.m.

Police shot and killed a person Tuesday evening in the Iron Range town of Virginia, Minn.

The Midwest Medical Examiner's Office later identified the person as J. Scot Alan Widmark, a 41-year-old man who lived in the town. He died of a gunshot wound.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said Virginia police and deputies from the St. Louis County Sheriff's Office responded to a report of suspicious activity on the 300 block of Second Street South, near Holy Spirit Catholic Church.

According to a press release from the BCA, a woman called 911 after Widmark approached her vehicle and demanded that she get out. He entered the vehicle, but then exited and proceeded to grab a man standing on the nearby sidewalk.

When police arrived, Widmark was still holding the man. At one point an officer discharged his weapon, striking Widmark, the agency said. Widmark was later pronounced dead at the Essentia Health-Virginia hospital.

The officer was identified as Officer Nick Grivna of the Virginia Police Department. He is now on standard administrative leave.

BCA investigates officer-involved shooting in Virginia
Police shot and killed a person after an encounter Tuesday night in Virginia.
Clint Austin | Duluth News Tribune

Kevin O'Brien, of Rollingstone, Minn., was outside the church at his truck a little after 5 p.m. when he saw a police squad car whiz past and stop about 150 yards from where he was standing.

"He parked out in the middle of the street and the officer was out in the middle of the street, and there was a shot not long afterward," he said.

"It sounded pretty loud. Like a big gun."

The BCA said investigators recovered a knife at the scene.

Virginia Mayor Larry Cuffe Jr. said residents are concerned.

"They're just starving for information that we cannot provide to them because of the investigative aspect of the case," he said.

The BCA is investigating.

The officers who responded to the call were not wearing body cameras, but investigators are checking to see if squad car video captured the incident.

Your support matters.

You make MPR News possible. Individual donations are behind the clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives. Help ensure MPR remains a resource that brings Minnesotans together.