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Forum News Service, Published September 05 2013

Two Duluth officers cleared in fatal shooting

DULUTH - Two Duluth police officers have been cleared of any wrongdoing in the June shooting death of a Duluth man.

Officers Matthew Hendrickson, a seven-year veteran of the department, and Jacob Peterson, a four-year veteran, used authorized force in shooting Zachary Premo, the St. Louis County Attorney’s Office concluded.

“The officers’ reaction in protecting themselves from apparent death or great bodily harm with the use of deadly force was justified,” Gary Bjorklund, criminal division head for the attorney’s office, wrote in his report. “There is no evidence the officers had any motive to shoot Premo other than their reasonable belief of the immediate threat posed to them.”

Both officers fired at Premo when he reached for a gun as they tried to take him into custody in his parents’ backyard during the early morning hours of June 11, police said.

Both officers were placed on paid administrative leave but have since returned to work.

Reached for comment Thursday, Premo’s parents declined to comment and referred questions to their attorney, David Malban, who said the family isn’t ruling out a civil lawsuit if they are left unsatisfied by the report.