No criminal charges against officer in fatal police shooting in Olivia, Minn.

A memorial surrounded by candles.
A memorial for Ricardo Torres Jr. is seen in an alley in Olivia, Minn., on July 7. It was the site where he was fatally shot on July 4.
Jackson Forderer for MPR News file

A police officer in Olivia, Minn., will not face criminal charges stemming from a July shooting that left a man dead.

In a letter dated Thursday, Blue Earth County Attorney Patrick McDermott said officer Aaron Clouse acted within the law when he shot and killed 32-year-old Ricardo Torres Jr. just after 2 a.m. on July 4.

According to the investigative summary in McDermott's letter, Clouse had been out putting up a trail cam in an alley after previous reports of vandalism and a vehicle theft in the vicinity, when he radioed that shots had been fired and requested backup.

A Renville County sheriff's sergeant responded and saw Torres laying on the ground with a sawed-off shotgun in his hands while Clouse was pointing his service weapon at Torres. Torres had been shot three times in the torso. He was later pronounced dead.

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Clouse, in a written report, said that he'd seen Torres carrying a gun. He said he told Torres to drop his gun, to which Torres allegedly responded that Clouse should drop his, and pointed a shotgun at Clouse. Clouse then shot Torres.

Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigators reported that a woman they interviewed after the shooting said Torres had been talking in recent days about "finding" Clouse after the officer had previously arrested him.

The witness also alleged that she saw Torres with a shotgun on the night of the shooting, and she had feared Torres would harm her.

Clouse was not wearing a body camera, and the trail camera he was installing did not capture any imagery. McDermott's letter indicated an expert review of squad car footage only reported sounds "compatible with an individual opening and closing car trunks, car doors, and placing items on a metal object, likely on top of or into a car."

Family and friends held a vigil for Torres on July 7. They described him as a man who would “take the shirt off of his back” for anyone, and they questioned initial law enforcement accounts of what happened. Torres was the father of an infant daughter.

Olivia has about 2,500 residents and is the county seat of Renville County. It's located about 85 miles west-southwest of Minneapolis.

The Renville County Attorney asked the Blue Earth County Attorney to review the case because of a conflict of interest.