Minnesota state trooper charged with murder in the killing of Ricky Cobb II

A family members experience emotional moments
Rashad Cobb, Ricky Cobb II's twin brother, and their mother Nyra Fields-Miller at a press conference outside the Hennepin County Government Center in August.
Kerem Yücel | MPR News 2023

Updated 3:23 p.m.

A Minnesota State Patrol trooper was charged Wednesday with murder in the shooting death of motorist Ricky Cobb II during an early morning traffic stop last summer in Minneapolis.

Trooper Ryan Londregan was one of three troopers on the scene along Interstate 94 at about 2 a.m. on July 31. He’d pulled up to assist other troopers and then to help take Cobb into custody after they learned Cobb was wanted on “probable cause arrest for a felony order-for-protection violation” in Ramsey County, according to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

Body camera video provided by the state Department of Public Safety shows Cobb starting to drive away as the troopers try to pull him out of the car. Londregan, the trooper on the passenger side, fires several shots into the car before falling to the ground as Cobb drives away.

The car then travels about a quarter mile down the interstate and stops against a highway divider. Cobb died at the scene. The BCA said a handgun and two cartridges were found behind the center console of Cobb’s car but that none of the video shows him holding the gun.

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Minnesota state trooper charged with murder in the killing of Ricky Cobb II

Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty charged Londregan with second-degree unintentional murder, first-degree assault and second-degree manslaughter.

Person speaks at podium with others nearby02
Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty (center) speaks at a press conference regarding the State Patrol killing of Ricky Cobb II at the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis on Wednesday.
Kerem Yücel | MPR News

“As with all Minnesota law enforcement officers, state troopers may only use deadly force when it is necessary to protect a person from a specific identified threat of great bodily harm or death that was reasonably likely to occur. That did not exist in this case,” Moriarty told reporters Wednesday after filing charges.

“Ricky Cobb II,” she added, “should be alive today."

Londregan’s attorney Chris Madel attacked Moriarty’s decision to charge. "This county attorney has provided sweetheart deals to murderers and kidnappers, and now today she charges a hero,” Madel said in a statement. “This county attorney is literally out of control. Open season on law enforcement must end, and it's going to end with this case.”

Law gives wide latitude on deadly force

Minnesota’s statute governing law enforcement use of deadly force gives officers a lot of latitude in circumstances where they take someone’s life.

It requires that the jury apply a standard of whether an objectively reasonable officer believed that the force was required to protect the officer or another person from death or great bodily harm or to capture someone who has killed or threatened to kill someone. Juries have traditionally given police officers wide latitude in this area.

The BCA turned over its investigation to the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office in September.

At the time, Moriarty said she was disappointed that some Minnesota State Patrol employees had refused to cooperate with the investigation. She also said her office had found an independent use-of-force expert to consult on the case.

On Wednesday, though, Moriarty told reporters she decided her office did not need to consult a use-of-force expert before charging the trooper.

‘Stole my son’

Cobb’s family and activists have called for Londregan to be prosecuted and said they plan to sue the Minnesota State Patrol. 

A family members experience emotional moments
Rashad Cobb, Ricky Cobb II's twin brother, and Nyra Fields-Miller, mother of Ricky T. Cobb II, and other family members experience emotional moments during a press conference on Aug. 2 outside the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis.
Kerem Yücel | MPR News 2023

“Ryan Londregan stole my son from me,” Cobb’s mother, Nyra Fields-Miller, said in a statement distributed by the family’s attorneys. “He gunned Ricky down … for no reason while he was defenseless. Nothing can ever make up for that. But today’s decision is the first step toward closure and justice.”

Per the troopers’ labor contract, Londregan will remain on paid leave while an investigation by the Department of Public Safety’s Internal Affairs Division is completed, Col. Matt Langer, head of the State Patrol, said in a statement following the charging decision.

“Any time a use-of-force incident ends with the loss of a life, it is tragic. Ricky Cobb II’s death is no different,” Langer added. This is a sad situation for everyone involved. We acknowledge the deep loss felt by Mr. Cobb’s family and friends. We also recognize the gravity of this situation for the State Patrol and our troopers tasked with making difficult split-second decisions.”

Londregan’s attorneys filed a motion outlining his defense shortly after charges were filed. It outlines how Londregan had viewed an alert prior to the shooting about Cobb violating an order for protection, his status as a predatory offender and his restrictions on possessing firearms.

It includes statements provided by Londregan’s partner Brett Seide to the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, where Seide said his torso was in the car when it started moving, and that he feared he or Londregan would fall under Cobb’s tires, be pushed into traffic or dragged down the interstate.

“Cobb’s conduct was terrifying, dangerous, and lethal force was needed before he could kill me and Trooper Londregan. Cobb posed an enormous threat to public safety,” according to the defense motion.