A man with a history of mental illness has pleaded guilty to shooting and wounding two South St. Paul police officers while being evicted from his apartment.
Dustin A. Bilderback, 34, entered his plea to two counts of attempted murder on Monday, one day before his trial was to begin in Dakota County District Court.
Early in the afternoon of July 19, 2018, Bilderback fired a shotgun at officers as they responded to the scene in the 500 block of 12th Avenue N.
The officers who were shot, Todd Waters and Derek Kruse, survived their wounds. Waters was struck in the back, neck and arm, and Kruse in the leg. Another officer at the scene suffered injuries unrelated to the gunfire, which also severely damaged a squad car.
Bilderback was supposed to meet with a mental health case worker at the apartment complex at 11 a.m. He missed the appointment, prompting staff to report him as missing.
Bilderback had been committed to the St. Peter Security Hospital as mentally ill and dangerous, but was on a provisional release at the time to the Everyday Living group home. Bilderback returned to the group home about 12:50 p.m. and met with the case worker.
“Defendant voiced his concern about returning to the hospital or police coming to the group home to get him,” the criminal complaint filed in the case read.
As Bilderback and the case worker exited the home, they encountered three officers called to the scene for a welfare check on Bilderback.
As officers and the case worker discussed whether to place Bilderback on a three-day mental health hold, Bilderback walked to his car, pulled a shotgun from the back seat and fired at the officers six times. Officers Dennis Brom and Kruse returned fire but did not strike Bilderback, who obeyed orders to drop his weapon and was arrested.
The plea deal included no agreement between the defense and the prosecution over what sentence Bilderback will receive when he goes before the court on Jan. 7.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482