Officer and man identified in officer involved shooting

By KBJR News 1

August 12, 2014 Updated Aug 12, 2014 at 10:22 PM CST

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- 30-year-old Joseph Zontelli of Duluth remains in critical but stable condition after being shot twice by Duluth Police Officer Marc Johnson, a 7-year-vet of the department, following an incident at Zontelli's home Monday morning.

Police were called by a third party to the home on reports of a suicide attempt. Zontelli had cut himself with a knife and was bleeding extensively.

"When officers arrived, Joe Zontelli fled to the basement and locked himself in a room," said Duluth Police Chief Gordon Ramsay.

Five officers were on scene at that point, and forced their way into the room.

A police dog was also used as a distraction so police could take Zontelli into custody.

Authorities say the man continued to hold onto the knife, despite commands to drop the weapon.

That's when Officer Johnson fired at Zontelli, striking him twice.

"Most important thing about this is the intent for those officers that went into that room were to help him , get him the help he needed so that he wouldn't bleed out and that it just didn't turn out the way they had wanted," said Ramsay.

The BCA is now investigating the shooting and will turn over their investigation to the St Louis County Attorney's office to review for any possible wrongdoing.

Zontelli is not currently facing any charges.

The investigation should take about a month, and will include police body cam footage, which should be made available to the public once the investigation is complete.

"Preliminarily, this case it doesn't look like there's any issues with the way things went down," said Chief Ramsay.

This is the fifth officer involved shooting in Duluth in the last four years.

"We just look at them on a case by case basis and all of ours were very, very different and there, the officers had no other choice in those cases," said Ramsay.

Officer Johnson has been placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure.

Police say Zontelli has a history of being in crisis...and had been transported on two occasions by Superior and Duluth police to a local hospital in the last month on suicide calls.

Written and posted to the web by Raeanna Marnati
rmarnati@kbr.com

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