Officer fatally shoots teen in Bemidji

Officer fatally shoots teen in Bemidji

There are 70 comments on the Startribune.com story from Aug 6, 2009, titled Officer fatally shoots teen in Bemidji. In it, Startribune.com reports that:

What started as a medical situation in Bemidji has ended with a police officer shooting an 18-year-old man to death.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Startribune.com.

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Melanie Erle

Mound, MN

#1 Aug 7, 2009
This is unbelieveable. What is wrong with the people in this world? Clearly the young man was in pain in more ways than one. With the amount of technology at the fingertips of police the only thing that was done for this young man was to pull a firearm and shoot him and kill him. Where were the non-lethalmethods of detainment that are supposed to be the first line? What happened to the mace or stunners? I realize that we probably will never know exactly what trasnpired but I think this shows a lack of judgement on the part of the police officer who was sent there to help, not harm.
Bemidji

Bemidji, MN

#2 Aug 7, 2009
i saw some of what happened before the teen was shot. i saw that the teen had been tazed more than once with the wires hanging from his shirt. i saw him from the back left, so i only could see his left hand. i will assume by articles i have read that the knife was in his right hand. he got up from the ground (unaffected by the tazer) and approached the one officer. thats all i saw, and i gave a recorded statement. but in defense of the bemidji police, i do not blame them for defending themselves and protecting my neighborhood of nymore, bemidji, mn.
Dee

Monroe, NC

#3 Aug 7, 2009
That sucks and the police Officers are trained not to shoot people without prob cause, and a knife come on people, thats different i can see him being shot to death if he had gun, thats crazy and as far as racial issues yes 5 cops beat the crap out of my friend who is black and indian, mind you she was a female. bruises between her legs and scared to death to press charges for the simple fact they were cops. they need better training and I also know for a fact I called in the FBI on other charges that these so called cops arent doing there jobs correctly. Thay are investigating such charges dont be scared to report dirty cops call the feds.
K__la

Bemidji, MN

#4 Aug 7, 2009
Bemidji wrote:
i saw some of what happened before the teen was shot. i saw that the teen had been tazed more than once with the wires hanging from his shirt. i saw him from the back left, so i only could see his left hand. i will assume by articles i have read that the knife was in his right hand. he got up from the ground (unaffected by the tazer) and approached the one officer. thats all i saw, and i gave a recorded statement. but in defense of the bemidji police, i do not blame them for defending themselves and protecting my neighborhood of nymore, bemidji, mn.
Firget that b*tch they had no right to shoot and kill him just cause he was native if it was a white person they would have done things differently! He was a really sweet boy!
K__la

Bemidji, MN

#5 Aug 7, 2009
R.I.P Rob Erle! We're all gonna miss you!
Sunshine

United States

#6 Aug 7, 2009
The police did utilize non-lethal alternatives. They did not stop him. He continued to come at them with a weapon. My question is where was his family? If he is hurting so bad why didn't he feel he could turn to his family instead of attacking himself and an officer.
Melanie Erle wrote:
This is unbelieveable. What is wrong with the people in this world? Clearly the young man was in pain in more ways than one. With the amount of technology at the fingertips of police the only thing that was done for this young man was to pull a firearm and shoot him and kill him. Where were the non-lethalmethods of detainment that are supposed to be the first line? What happened to the mace or stunners? I realize that we probably will never know exactly what trasnpired but I think this shows a lack of judgement on the part of the police officer who was sent there to help, not harm.
Reality

Bemidji, MN

#7 Aug 9, 2009
Sunshine, when sometimes are hurting, the last ones to know is the family. If you knew him or his family, perhaps you would not be so quick to wright such things. The internet is a faceless place. It is too easy to comment leaving no face for the words. I have had a loved one commit suicide. I also know the family. Those were malicious words. Take your frustrations somewhere else.
Truth

Northome, MN

#8 Aug 10, 2009
Ignorance. Police Officers are people too. 85% of officers involved in a critical incident are no longer police officers within five years. Those are not statistics of people who kill others based on race or any other reason. Robert Erle made a choice, he was not man enough to take his own life so he forced the hand of an innocent police officer. Theories will abound, but the truth will prevail. GOD BLESS you men and women in blue, who protect us at all costs!
black gran prix

United States

#9 Aug 11, 2009
Well said Truth. This whole incident could have gone differently but for the choices of this young man. Whether in a psychotic state or drug induced state, he still made a choice. I am sorry for his family, but this appears to have been his wishes, the officer who responded didn't really get to choose. They attempted to use other means to stop the offender but it didn't work. The officer had no choice and now hopefully he can get the help he needs to get through this incident and continue in his career of protecting public safety.
Truth wrote:
Ignorance. Police Officers are people too. 85% of officers involved in a critical incident are no longer police officers within five years. Those are not statistics of people who kill others based on race or any other reason. Robert Erle made a choice, he was not man enough to take his own life so he forced the hand of an innocent police officer. Theories will abound, but the truth will prevail. GOD BLESS you men and women in blue, who protect us at all costs!
sda

Bemidji, MN

#10 Aug 12, 2009
Melanie Erle wrote:
This is unbelieveable. What is wrong with the people in this world? Clearly the young man was in pain in more ways than one. With the amount of technology at the fingertips of police the only thing that was done for this young man was to pull a firearm and shoot him and kill him. Where were the non-lethalmethods of detainment that are supposed to be the first line? What happened to the mace or stunners? I realize that we probably will never know exactly what trasnpired but I think this shows a lack of judgement on the part of the police officer who was sent there to help, not harm.
The police officer actually did use a tazer but it had no effect on him. Rob then charged at the officer with a knife, forcing the officer to protect himself. The officer was new to the Bemidji police force.
qersdfsdf

Bemidji, MN

#11 Aug 12, 2009
K__la wrote:
<quoted text>
Firget that b*tch they had no right to shoot and kill him just cause he was native if it was a white person they would have done things differently! He was a really sweet boy!
You need to stop blaming this on race, it had NOTHING to do with that. My dad works in the law enforcement field and he says natives/black almost 80% of the time say to him, "Is it because I'm native?" or "Is it because I'm black" but it has absolutely nothing at all to do with it. He was probably a sweet boy, yes, I know a few of his relatives and they are some pretty cool kids but it was not about race, the officer was being rushed at with a weapon, if it was anyone else doing it, it wouldve been the same result.
black gran prix

United States

#12 Aug 12, 2009
It is my understanding that the officer had been with the Bemijdi Police for a year or more. Quite frankly a year on the Bemidji Police force is worth 10 years in some rinky dink little town. This was not due to inexperience. It was due to someone attacking an officer with a knife. That's it that's all. Ask any other officer in that situation whether they had been on the force a year or 20 years, someone coming at you with a weapon ~who does not stop after being tazed~ is going to be shot.

As I have said before this is a terrible situation for everyone involved. The family of the young man, the officer, the officer's family and the Bemidji area as a community. People who want to blame instead of focusing on where the community as a whole failed this kid will only stop any change that could be made to keep another young man or woman from doing the same thing.
sda wrote:
<quoted text> The police officer actually did use a tazer but it had no effect on him. Rob then charged at the officer with a knife, forcing the officer to protect himself. The officer was new to the Bemidji police force.
CassLaker

Northome, MN

#13 Aug 21, 2009
The truth is that a knife can be just as deadly as a gun, and bulletproof vests cant stop them.
Otterstad

Saint Paul, MN

#14 Aug 24, 2009
CassLaker wrote:
The truth is that a knife can be just as deadly as a gun, and bulletproof vests cant stop them.
I thought that tasers were used to immobilize a criminal...they did use two, as well as shoot the victim twice in the chest disregarding children playing at a nearby day care.
CassLaker

Northome, MN

#15 Aug 24, 2009
He wanted to die and thats what he got.
black gran prix

Chattanooga, TN

#16 Aug 26, 2009
Seriously? I cannot believe that you think the officer shooting this out of control 18 year old who was covered in blood and wielding a knife was in some way showing "no regard" for the children at the daycare. The 18 year old was not going to stop, who knows who he was a danger to?!? And when did it become protocol for an officer who is being attacked by someone with a weapon to need to stop and think "hmmm I wonder if there are any daycares in the area"....ridiculous.

FYI: Tasers do not always work on people who are high on drugs or severely mentally ill. The officers tried to tase him twice and that didn't stop him, he left them no choice. The officer did have regard for the public's safety as well as his own. He has a right to protect himself when being attacked, many officers would tell you that they wouldn't have, bothered with the taser. The shoot was justified without the taser, this officer went above and beyond to avoid the shoot but the offender left him no choice.
Otterstad wrote:
<quoted text>
I thought that tasers were used to immobilize a criminal...they did use two, as well as shoot the victim twice in the chest disregarding children playing at a nearby day care.
rezrat

Jefferson City, MO

#17 Aug 27, 2009
i remeber a cop or the cops shot a native youth seventeen times on the white earth rez when he was in bed,and one of them same cops car was seen sitting in a driveway at a natives house a few years before late at night,then in the morning he was found dead,shot in the head like he did that to him self,i knew him and he was a happy person,i think that that cop planted that gun on him after the fact, and that was not even make it on TV news or any thing, a lot of cops are bad, and it is hard to tell them apart, so i don't trust any of them,

Since: Aug 09

Bemidji, MN

#18 Aug 29, 2009
I would just start by saying that I'm Native American, White, German, and Irish, Know I dont think that my race really matters here as I SIT AND RIGHT THIS, BUT IM TELLING YOU ANYWAY. I WOULD LIKE TO SAY A FEW THINGS. I AM SO SICK AND TIRED OF PEOPLE BLAMING EVERYTHING ON RACE WHEN IT HAS TO COME TO LAW ENFORCEMENT AND NATIVES OR BLACKS,WHITE,HISPANICS. I COULD CARE LESS WHAT COLOR YOU ARE. I KNOW ALOT OF YOU BLAME THIS ON THAT BUT I SIT HERE AND THINK AS I AM WRITTING THIS, I COME FROM A LAW ENFORCEMENT BACK GROUND. I HAVE A TWO YR DEGREE AND ALSO WORK AS A COMMUCATIONS OFFICER, SOME OF YOU PEOPLE NEED TO SIT OR WALK IN THE SHOES OF A POLICE OFFICER AND SEE WHAT THEY GO THROUGH ON A DAILY BASIS. YOU GUYS DO NOT KNOW WHAT THEY GO THROUGH. I DONT KNOW THIS KID PERSONALY BUT IM SURE HE WAS A GREAT KID BUT DO SOME OF YOU REALIZE WHAT KIND OF CALL THIS WAS. IT WAS A MEDICAL CALL OF A SUCIDAL MALE, THIS IS A SERIOUS CALL I DONT KNOW IF SOME OF YOU KNOW THIS, BUT ITS NOT TAKEN LIGHTLY. ALSO OFFICERS ARE TRAINED TO KILL IF THATS WHAT THEY HAVE TO DO TO PROTECT THEMSELFS AND THE LIVES OF OTHERS THATS WHAT THEY ARE GOING TO DO. LET ME ASK YOU SOMETHING IF SOMEONE WAS COMING AT YOU WITH A KNIFE WHAT WOULD YOU DO? THE OFFICER DID DO THE RIGHT THING HE USED HIS TASER AND IT HAD NO AFFECT ON MR. ERLE SO WHAT ELSE WAS THERE TO DO AND HE WAS CHARGING AT THE OFFICER WITH THE KNIFE TAKE HIS GUN AND SHOOT TO PROTECT HIS SELF AND THE AREA. SOME OF YOU PEOPLE SAY WELL WHY DID HE USE HIS GUN WHEN THE DAY CARE WAS IN THE AREA. WELL LETS LOOK AT IT THIS WAY. IF MR ERLE HAD BEEN CONSUMING ALCOHOL OR CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE AND HE HAPPNED TO GET AWAY FROM OFFICERS AND JUST HAPPENED TO GET INTO THE DAY CARE AND HURT THEM CHILDREN THEN YOU WOULD BE BLAMING OFFICERS CAUSE THEY DID NOT ATTEMPT TO STOP THIS ARMED MAN. SO THEY ARE DAMNED IF THEY DO AND DAMED IF THEY DONT. JUST LIKE I SAID BEFORE YOU DO NOT KNOW WHAT THESE OFFICERS GO THROUGH DAY AFTER DAY. SO BEFORE YOU START USING THE RACE THING SIT BACK AND THINK BEFORE YOU OPEN YOUR MOUTHS
Jerm

Bemidji, MN

#19 Aug 31, 2009
You are an idiot. You were not there, a tazer was utilized to attempt to stop the suspect, and 2 failed attempts (the perpetrator was threatening the lives of the 2 officers, they used lethal force AS A LAST RESORT. Get you facts straight. This idiot deserved it.
Jerm

Bemidji, MN

#20 Aug 31, 2009
He deserved it. Plain and simple. He threatened the lives of the Police, and he paid for it. Always race with you, isn't it?

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