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No charges to be filed in Olivia police shooting

OLIVIA — No criminal charges are to be filed against an Olivia police officer who shot Ricardo Torres Jr. on July 4, 2021.

Blue Earth County Attorney Patrick McDermott, who reviewed the case for Renville County to avoid conflict of interest, said that Olivia Police Officer Aaron Clous “acted within the law in his use of deadly force,” and that no criminal charges should be filed.

According to the investigation by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Clouse was in an alley on Lincoln Avenue around 2:21 a.m. on July 4, where he was mounting a trail camera to help investigate incidents of vandalism and vehicle theft in the area.

Clouse told investigators Torres came walking through the alley, wearing a backpack and carrying something Clouse couldn’t make out in the dark.

When Clouse called out, “Hey, Rick,” Torres quickened his pace and tried to hide what he was carrying. When Clouse called out “Police Stop,” Torres continued to walk, coming around a car toward Clouse. When Torres got into better light, Clouse saw he was carrying a long-barreled gun. Clouse ordered Torres to drop the gun as he reached for his sidearm.

Clouse said Torres turned toward Clouse, raised the gun and said, “You drop the gun. Torres was about three to five feet away, and Clouse could see he was pointing a sawed-off shotgun. Clouse pulled his weapon and fired four shots at Torres.

Clouse called for backup. When another officer arrived they disarmed Torres, cuffed his hands in front and started first aid.

Interviews with witnesses earlier in the evening indicated Torres had become angry with his girl friend for refusing to be intimate. He unwrapped a towel, showing her a sawed-off shotgun. He told her she had “three hours to change her mind,” said he had other people to deal with and would be back to deal with her. The witness believed Torres was coming back to her apartment to kill her when he ran into Clouse. She said Torres felt Clouse had been targeting him. She said if Clouse had not pulled the trigger, Torres would have, and then would have come back to kill her.

“The reaction of Officer Clouse in this case was reasonable and justified. His conduct was in response to an apparent threat of death or great bodily harm,” said McDermott. “The investigative materials reviewed show that, given the facts and circumstances, Officer Clouse acted within the law in his use of deadly force…”

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