Investigators have determined that a sheriff’s deputy was justified when he fatally shot a motorcyclist in Hermantown after the suspect fired first in the exchange of gunfire, authorities said Wednesday.
The ruling by the St. Louis County Attorney’s Office upholding the deputy’s actions was based on an investigation by the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) into the death of Timothy R. Majchrzak, 37, of Hermantown, on May 4 during a roadside confrontation.
Also judged as justified by the County Attorney’s Office were the actions of a second deputy who used his squad car to run over a wounded Majchrzak.
“The events which culminated in the death of Mr. Majchrzak were put into motion when Majchrzak refused order by Deputy Jason Kuhnly, after a high-speed motor vehicle chase, to drop a handgun he was brandishing,” read a statement from County Attorney Mark Rubin. “Rather than comply with Deputy Kuhnly’s directives, Majchrzak chose instead to fire at Deputy Kuhnly, clearly placing the deputy in danger of great bodily harm or death. In response, Deputy Kuhnly opened fire, fatally wounding Majchrzak.”
Kuhnly’s partner, Troy Fralich, saw Majchrzak take aim again at Majchrzak, prompting Fralich to use the “means available at that time” and drove into the suspect, Rubin’s statement continued.
Hermantown police and deputies pursued Majchrzak as he headed north on Midway Road just past W. Arrowhead Road at more than 100 mph. The officers ended the pursuit near Hwy. 53 and Ugstad Road.
Soon after, deputies spotted Majchrzak near Stebner Road and Village Drive. They pursued him briefly until his motorcycle became stuck. Majchrzak took off on foot, and the gunfire soon followed. Majchrzak died at the scene.
The BCA notified Majchrzak’s family before announcing its determination.
A message was left with one of his family members seeking a reaction to the findings.
State court records show Majchrzak had been in trouble with the law since a felony robbery conviction in 2000. He received a felony assault conviction later that year. In 2018, he pleaded guilty to violating a domestic no-contact order.
Rubin’s office went to outside sources for its review of the BCA investigation to avoid a conflict of interest in connection with a relationship between Fralich and the County Attorney’s Office. Stepping in were retired Assistant St. Louis County Attorney Gordon Coldagelli and current Cook County Attorney Molly Hicken.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482