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Tad Vezner, St. Paul Pioneer Press, Published February 12 2014

Authorities say suspects in Eden Prairie chase were shot after threatening cops with knife

ST. PAUL - A man who was fatally shot by four officers after a high-speed car chase in Eden Prairie last week held a knife on the officers and refused to put it down, according to the state agency conducting an internal investigation of the case.

After officers shot the man, the woman with him picked up the knife and was shot as well, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said Wednesday.

The agency released several other details in the harrowing Feb. 7 chase, which shut down U.S. 212 for much of the day.

The officers involved were identified Wednesday as Sgt. Brady Juell and Officer Trent Wurtz of the Chaska Police Department; Trooper Mark Lund of the Minnesota State Patrol; and Cpl. Nathan Mueller of the Carver County Sheriff's Office, the BCA said.

All four officers were placed on leave after the incident, which began with a hit-and-run accident about 7:30 a.m. Friday in Chaska. Police located the suspect vehicle and chased it at high speeds. The red Saab fled on U.S. 212, at times reaching 90 mph and with its hood popped open against the windshield.

The chase ended just before 8 a.m., when the Saab veered to the right shoulder and struck a retaining wall, just over the Eden Prairie border from Chaska near Dell Road.

The two occupants of the Saab were subsequently identified as driver Matthew Vincent Serbus, 36, and his passenger, Dawn Marie Pfister, 34.

In a written release detailing the events after the crash, the BCA said, "according to the preliminary investigation and officer statements, Serbus then produced a knife. Serbus ignored repeated commands from officers to drop the weapon. Officers then fired at Serbus.

"Pfister then took possession of the knife, at which time she was shot."

Both were killed, and the knife was recovered, the BCA said.

The vehicle was reported stolen in Colorado days before the incident, and the license plate also was reported stolen in Colorado from a separate vehicle, the BCA said.

Serbus and Pfister both died of multiple gunshot wounds, according to the Hennepin County medical examiner. Neither had a permanent address.

Both Serbus and Pfister had criminal records, according to media reports.

All four officers were veterans, with experience ranging from nine years to 17 years within their departments.


The Pioneer Press is a media partner with Forum News Service.