Officials decline to charge Duluth officer in shooting death of Zachary Shogren

Officials have declined to press charges against a Duluth police officer who shot and killed a man in February who approached him and fellow officers with a knife.

Zachary Shogren, 34, of Duluth, was killed by a member of the Lake Superior Violent Offender Task Force. The officer’s name was not released because he worked undercover.

The Task Force attempted to arrest Shogren for making “violent and graphic” threats against a family member.

According to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which investigated the incident, Shogren approached officers in an alley with a knife and refused commands to drop it.

Grow the Future of Public Media

MPR News is supported by Members. Gifts from individuals power everything you find here. Make a gift of any amount today to become a Member!

Police sergeant Jared Blomdahl fired his stun gun at Shogren, but in a press release, the St. Louis County attorney’s office said the investigation found that he “appeared unaffected and continued to advance at an accelerated pace, holding the knife out from his body pointing at the officers.”

Another officer fired four less-lethal sponge rounds at Shogren, but those also did not seem to have any impact, officials said. Shogren was then shot twice when he got to within feet of another officer, according to the investigation.

The St. Louis County Attorney’s Office asked Cook County Attorney Molly Hicken to review the case to avoid any perception of bias. Hicken found there was no basis for charges because the evidence was sufficient to establish that an “objectively reasonable officer in their position” would believe there was a threat of death or serious injury if they did not use deadly force.

The BCA investigation was based in part on footage from body cameras worn by the officers and dash cameras.

Shogren served in the Army National Guard for nine years, including a deployment to Iraq in 2011-2012. According to his obituary, some of his favorite activities were going on long hikes, fishing and camping in the Boundary Waters with his family and playing cribbage.

“He had a kind heart and loved his family,” the obituary states. “Zach received unconditional love and support from all of us.”