The Grand Forks Regional Swat Post Action Report, which notes that a “Code Red” message went out at 11:56 a.m. on the day of the incident, says that Huderle was a military veteran whom was possibly triggered by vehicles driving by the farm.
The investigation of the officer-involved shooting in March 2017 near Tabor has been completed after the Polk County Attorney’s Office ruled the United States Border Patrol Agent’s actions were justified when he discharged his weapon killing 73-year-old Clarence Huderle.
In a June 6 letter from Assistant County Attorney Scott Buhler to Polk County Sheriff Barb Erdman, which the Times obtained from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension’s case file, Buhler says that the shooting which resulted in the death of Mr. Huderle was legally justified under Minnesota law.
“It is clear from the autopsy conducted by the Grand Forks County Medical Examiner’s Office that Mr. Huderle died as a result of shots fired by a law enforcement officer and did not commit suicide,” Buhler said in the letter. “(The) U.S. Border Patrol Agent clearly was justified in using deadly force to shoot and kill Mr. Huderle under all three statutory alternatives.”
According to Minnesota Statute 609.066, subd. 1, in the following circumstances, the use of deadly force by a peace officer in the line of duty is justified only when necessary: (1) to protect the peace officer from apparent death or great bodily harm, (2) to effect the arrest or capture, or prevent the escape, of a person whom the peace officer knows or has reasonable grounds to believe has committed or attempted to commit a felony involving the use or threatened use of deadly force; or (3) to effect the arrest or capture, or prevent the escape, of a person whom the officer knows or has reasonable grounds to believe has committed or attempted to commit a felony if the officer reasonably believes that the person will cause death or great bodily harm if the person’s apprehension is delayed.
“The agent was justified in shooting Mr. Huderle in order to protect himself and/or Polk County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Kyle Olson. At the time the agent initially shot, Mr. Huderle already had fired several shots towards Deputy Olson (who was in uniform at the time and was driving a marked patrol vehicle with its emergency lights on), had struck Deputy Olson’s patrol vehicle with at least one bullet, and appeared to be readying to shoot towards Deputy Olson again,” Buhler continued. “As Deputy Olson reasonably concluded, it appeared as though Mr. Huderle was trying to kill him.”
“Once the agent began shooting towards Mr. Huderle, Mr. Huderle then raised his rifle and pointed it at the agent rather than putting his rifle down and surrendering to the officers,” he added. “Given these facts, it is clear that the agent justifiably acted to protect Deputy Olson or himself ‘from apparent death or great bodily harm’.”
In March, Huderle fired at a mail carrier who arrived at his home south of Warren. The carrier said he heard two “booms” and the rear window of his Monte Carlo shattered so he accelerated out of the area and traveled to the next farm.
PCSO Deputy Kyle Olson responded to the scene and Huderle fired at him, too, striking his squad car through the passenger window. Multiple law enforcement agencies responded and a Border Patrol agent, who is also assigned to the Pine to Prairie drug task force and is not identified, moved close to the scene and noticed that Huderle was pointing a rifle in Olson’s direction. The agent fired a total of six to eight rounds at Huderle with a semi-automatic rifle with a scope, but missed his first two shots. He told investigators that he saw Huderle raise his rifle in the agent’s direction and lost sight of him after he fired.
Polk County Deputy Nathan Rasch said in his narrative report that he observed the deceased male, Huderle, with a gunshot wound in his chest, through his left wrist and to the left side of his jaw. The University of North Dakota Pathology lab autopsy said the cause of death was a gunshot wound of the neck into the chest.
Huderle’s wife said the day she left Clarence at home alone he was fine, however he had been having bouts of paranoia since his heart surgery the previous year and the doctor had been giving him meds for dementia. The Grand Forks Regional Swat Post Action Report, which notes that a “Code Red” message went out at 11:56 a.m. on the day of the incident, says that Huderle was a military veteran whom was possibly triggered by vehicles driving by the farm.
During a search of the Huderle residence, garage and property, multiple spend casings and numerous firearms were located.