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Edmond D. Fair was fatally shot in the chest by police during a traffic stop and struggle in Brooklyn Center last week, authorities said Tuesday.

The Hennepin County Sheriff's Office, which is investigating the shooting, said it couldn't comment on the case. .

Michael Padden, an attorney hired by Fair's girlfriend, said he had separate interviews with the four passengers in Fair's van. They told him that Fair was handcuffed when he was shot and that he wasn't resisting arrest, he said.

Fair, 24, died about 2:20 a.m. Friday after being shot in the chest during an encounter with police near Shingle Creek Parkway and the entrance ramp to Interstate 694, the Hennepin County medical examiner's office said.

The officer involved in the shooting — Ryan Soliday — was placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure. Since being hired by the department in January 2010, Soliday has had no disciplinary action taken against him and has received five Chief's Certificates of Commendations and a Merit of Achievement award.

Elizabeth Fair, Edmond's mother, said Tuesday that she's upset that no police official notified her about her son's death. She learned about it from a relative who was a passenger in Fair's van at the time of the shooting.

"Somebody took away my son," she said. "They took something you can't get back, and that's not right."

Kelia Gregory dated Edmond four months after having met him at church in 2007. She described him as a wonderful person who loved playing with their new kitten and pit bull, and he treated her seven children like his own.

"I'm in a lot of grief right now," she said.

Fair, of Minneapolis, was driving Gregory's van the night he was killed.

Padden plans to file suit Wednesday in an attempt to get her van back from police custody. The vehicle has no relevance in the shooting investigation, Gregory told him, because all four passengers heard officers say "van all clear" after they searched it for contraband.

To prove his case, Padden interviewed all the passengers separately and recapped their accounts in the lawsuit to come, he said.

But on Tuesday, he was told by a representative of the Sheriff's Office that authorities have now found a narcotic and weapon in the van and will not release it.

After the shooting, all the passengers were arrested and interviewed by deputies, Padden said. They were asked questions about the shooting, but nothing about contraband in the van, he said. They were held in jail for nine hours.

The witnesses' account

According to Padden, the episode began early Friday, when Fair's group voluntarily left a room at a Motel 6 at the request of a security guard. A few minutes later, the van was stopped by police, those involved told Padden. The officer told them he'd heard there was some trouble at the motel, Padden said.

Fair told the officer he had a warrant and didn't want to go to jail, the attorney said. He was ordered out of the van, put in handcuffs and sat on the ground, the witnesses from the van told Padden.

Fair was starting to stand up when one of the two officers on the scene put him in a headlock and tried to get him down to the ground, Padden said.

Elizabeth Fair, who also had heard this account of her son's death from the van passengers, said he was a good man who loved to help people. He spent the whole day before he died helping her elderly neighbor with household chores.

"He was an intelligent man who made people smile," she said. "He knew how to bring people out of their shell."

He wrote poetry and songs, and was trying to save up enough money to produce his art, she said. Now, he won't realize his dreams.

"He was a starving artist," she said. "He was going to do it. If you met him, you would understand."

David Chanen • 612-673-4465