Charges: Suspected killer of Minnesota police officer said 'I hate cops and I’m guilty’
The man accused of murdering a Mendota Heights police officer and then getting in a shootout with St. Paul police was full of hate and defiance while lying wounded in a hospital bed, according to a criminal complaint.
He looked a St. Paul police officer in the eye, and declared, "Just to let you know, I hate cops and I’m guilty," according to a criminal complaint.
Brian George Fitch Sr., 39, was charged with murder, attempted murder and a host of gun and assault charges for allegedly shooting at officers who tracked him down and arrested him.
Fitch, of Mendota Heights, is accused of fatally shooting veteran Mendota Heights officer Scott Patrick, 47, during a routine traffic stop Wednesday in West St. Paul. He was apprehended that night in St. Paul. Police say he fired at the officers who arrested him before officers shot him and brought him down.
He was hospitalized Thursday in serious condition.
According to a criminal complaint filed in Ramsey County District Court, after Patrick was killed, St. Paul police located Fitch’s Pontiac Grand Am in the rear of a home in the 600 block of South Robert Street where an occupant at the address said Fitch came to her home and borrowed her 2007 Hyundai Veracruz SUV.
At 8 p.m. Wednesday, police received information that the Hyundai was at 34 E. Sycamore St. in St. Paul, the complaint said.
When police arrived, the SUV took off and was pursued to a parking lot at 60 W. Sycamore St., and a gun battle began between Fitch and police, according to the complaint, with Fitch firing out the window of the SUV.
During the gun battle, a witness living at a home on West Sycamore Street saw the driver’s-side window of the Hyundai "blow outward," saw several flashes coming from the vehicle’s driver’s side and saw officers returning fire, the complaint said.
Another man who had been in the vehicle jumped out and fled before the shooting began, the complaint said. A 36-year-old woman also in the vehicle was wounded in the left leg and left elbow even though a police officer yelled at other officers to cease fire when she was spotted, the complaint said.
The woman, Kelly Hardy, fell out of the vehicle and told police Fitch would not surrender, the complaint said. When Fitch did not leave the SUV after he was ordered to do so, police used a SWAT Bearcat armored vehicle to shield themselves to make the arrest, the complaint said.
Fitch told police that he had a gun, and it was found on the floor of the SUV, the complaint said. It was a 9 mm Smith & Wesson that had been stolen from Eden Prairie, the complaint said. Three cartridges were in the gun’s magazine, a spent was casing in the gun’s chamber and three spent casings were in and around the vehicle.
The male passenger in the vehicle, who was not identified in the complaint, told police that Fitch and Kelly Hardy arrived at 34 E. Sycamore St. at about 5 or 6 p.m. Wednesday in the Hyundai, and Fitch took a handgun from a Jimmy John’s bag and put it in his waistband, the complaint said.
Fitch told the man to say that he went to Canada if anyone asked about him, and he threatened to kill the man if he said anything else, the complaint said.
Fitch had the man get into the Hyundai and said he wanted to be dropped off a few blocks away and told the man to return the Hyundai to its owner, the complaint said.
But then they saw a black vehicle down the street that they identified as a police vehicle, the complaint said. When the police car pulled in front of them, the male passenger asked to be let out and was told by Fitch to "shut the -- up," the complaint said.
A police vehicle then pulled behind them, and Fitch, who was driving, pulled the gun out of his waistband, the complaint said.
The Hyundai pulled into the parking lot on Sycamore Street, Fitch began to raise the gun in his right hand, and the male passenger said he bailed out of the vehicle just before he heard several gunshots, the complaint said.
The complaint described how three police officers who approached the vehicle saw Fitch firing at them.
"The defendant was positioned very low in the driver’s seat with just his head exposed. The defendant was ducking and moving," according to one officer’s story, the complaint said. The officer "returned fire and the defendant slumped forward."
At that point the officer realized a woman passenger was in the car and yelled for officers to cease fire, the complaint said.
Another officer said he saw the male passenger jump out of the SUV, but that he maintained his focus on the vehicle, and as he approached he could hear the engine revving, saw Fitch raise his hand, saw muzzle flashes aimed in his direction and heard gunfire, the complaint said.
The complaint said Fitch was taken to Regions Hospital for treatment of gunshot wounds. It said a St. Paul police officer was assigned to watch Fitch, and at one point was alone in the room with Fitch.
The complaint said this happened next:
"The defendant looked directly at the officer. The officer looked back. The defendant said, ’Just to let you know, I hate cops and I’m guilty.’ "
Fitch has a long and violent criminal history that includes assault with a gun, felony burglary and terroristic threats with a knife. He had a warrant out for his arrest when Patrick stopped him for skipping a probation violation hearing, and was likely facing years in prison had he been caught.
The charges in Patrick’s killing are two counts of first-degree murder: one for premeditation, one for killing a police officer. Those were filed in Dakota County and carry a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole.
The other charges, filed in Ramsey County, include three counts of attempted murder of a police officer, three counts of drive-by shooting, three counts of assault with a gun and a count of illegally possessing a firearm.
He’ll make his first appearance in Ramsey County District Court on those charges Aug. 4, and will first appear in Dakota County on the murder charges Aug. 12.