Le Sueur County Sheriff Brett Mason announces that the investigation into the Officer-Involved Shooting concerning Austin Dean Heights has been completed. This incident occurred on the Minnesota River within Le Sueur County on April 18th, 2020.  After extensive review, Le Sueur County Attorney Brent Christian determined that the four Officers that discharged their weapons were justified and authorized under state statute 609.066.  Therefore, no criminal charges against the involved Officers were supported. 

 

On April 18th, 2020 Austin Dean Heights entered a convenience store and proceeded to the restroom.  As he exited the restroom he was holding a .22 caliber rifle and carrying a duffle bag.  Heights proceeded to steal some merchandise, exit the store and flee towards Kiwanis Park.  Officers with the Mankato Department of Public Safety encountered Heights in a raft with two long guns visible.  Heights ignored orders from Officers to come ashore and began to paddle Northbound on the Minnesota River.

 

Heights then encountered a Minnesota Conservation Officer and a Blue Earth County Deputy that were on the river in a DNR Watercraft.  The Deputy identified himself and advised Heights to show his hands.  At this point Heights raises a firearm and fires upon the Deputy and Conservation Officer.  As other Law Enforcement Watercraft arrive in the area Heights fires upon them on multiple occasions.  

 

Up to this point Heights had stolen from a convenience store with an uncased firearm in hand, ignored commands from Officers to come ashore and fired upon three Law Enforcement Watercraft.

 

Heights continued to paddle Northbound on the River where he eventually comes ashore on the East bank of the Minnesota River in Le Sueur County.  Heights then began to disembark with the two long guns toward a heavily wooded area with nearby residences.  Given Heights criminal behavior, failure to respond to commands from Law Enforcement and the multiple rounds fired upon Law Enforcement, deadly force was necessary to protect other Law Enforcement Officers and civilians from great bodily harm or death. 

 

Brett Mason 

Le Sueur County Sheriff