Chief: St. Paul police who shot man feared for lives when suspect approached with rock


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Police and fire crews respond to the scene of a fatal shooting in St. Paul, Minn., Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014. St. Paul police shot and killed a man who one witness said threw rocks at an officer and punched him. (AP Photo/St. Paul Pioneer Press, Scott Takushi)

ST. PAUL, Minnesota — A man shot to death by St. Paul police Thursday was smashing car windows with a pipe and threatened officers with a rock, authorities said.

The man set off frantic 911 calls with his aggressive behavior before the shooting happened about 6:30 a.m. on the city's west side near a gas station, police said. One 911 caller said the man was "gonna hurt somebody," according to a transcript released by police.

St. Paul Police Chief Thomas Smith said the two officers who confronted the suspect feared for their lives. Smith said the man ignored orders to stop and closed on the officers with a rock bigger than a baseball.

"You don't always have to have a firearm or a knife to hurt somebody," Smith told reporters.

Neither officer was hurt. The names of the officers, who are on standard administrative leave, were not released.

Police are working to identify the suspect, the St. Paul Pioneer Press ( ) reported.

Smith said the officers responded to 911 calls about a man violently smashing windows. He at one point attacked a school bus, the chief said. Smith didn't know if children were present.

Witnesses told the newspaper they saw a man struggling with officers before police shot him.

Information from: St. Paul Pioneer Press,

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