Gilbert officer convicted of firing shot in off-duty confrontation
A jury rejected Kevin Greene's claim of self-defense in the 2020 altercation with an Aurora deer hunter, with a prosecutor saying the law enforcement veteran "started a fight that he lost."
DULUTH — A Gilbert police officer and area law enforcement chaplain has been convicted of a felony for firing a handgun during an off-duty confrontation with a hunter in September 2020.
A Virginia jury returned the verdict against Kevin Patrick Greene, 49, at the conclusion of a three-day trial in State District Court on Jan. 6.
Court documents say that Greene, who admitted to drinking prior to the incident, fired a shot into the ground after he confronted the bowhunter, Tom Carvelli, who was legally participating in the Aurora city deer hunt on public property.
The panel convicted Greene of reckless discharge of a firearm within a municipality, while acquitting him of another felony count of making threats of violence. Still, the felony conviction is enough to bar him from serving as a licensed peace officer in Minnesota.
"I'm very happy," Carvelli said of the verdict. "It was my word against his on a lot of this stuff. But it'd be hard to make up a story like this."
Greene's attorney, Stephen Foertsch, did not respond to a request for comment on Thursday. Gilbert Police Chief Ty Techar also did not immediately answer questions regarding Greene's employment status since the incident.
A criminal complaint states that police were called to Holland Drive in Aurora around 6:20 p.m. Sept. 23 on a report of a person with a gun. Carvelli said he had parked his vehicle on city property with an intent to walk onto state land and hunt.
Carvelli, 51, told the News Tribune that Greene, a nearby resident, approached him, profanely screaming at him to leave and threatening violence if he did not. He said the off-duty officer described him as "nothing but a thief" and declined to look at plat books proving he was on public property.
"He got right next to my face and grabbed my throat," Carvelli said. "Then I kicked him as hard as I could. I kicked him in the leg and he went flying back. I took a swing at him and missed. Then he came at me again so I pulled his shirt over his head. I said, 'Now you're f***ed; you're going for an ambulance ride.' And that's when he pulled out the pistol and shot it into the ground."
Carvelli left the area and called 911, while Greene placed his own call to complain of an unwanted person at the address.
The complaint states that St. Louis County Sheriff's Office investigators spoke with Greene, who claimed he believed Carvelli had a history as a burglar. He stated that Carvelli had started the physical confrontation and "beat the s**t out of me."
Greene, according to the complaint, initially admitted that he unholstered his off-duty firearm and intentionally "popped one into the ground." But during a later interview, he indicated he was not sure if the discharge was intentional or accidental.
Authorities said Greene acknowledged consuming alcohol prior to the confrontation but refused testing. A single bullet was found on public property on Holland Drive, where both men agreed the incident occurred, and police received confirmation that Carvelli was properly registered for the city archery hunt.
Foertsch, in an unsuccessful motion to have the complaint dismissed, argued that Carvelli was the instigator. He contended Greene acted lawfully to "defend himself against a further physical attack."
But St. Louis County Attorney prosecutor Jon Holets said the defendant was "irrationally concerned about a citizen behaving lawfully, started a fight that he lost and, as a result, resorted to hiding behind his gun and now his badge."
Greene, the son of a former Duluth police detective, earned a degree in criminology and sociology from the University of Minnesota Duluth in 1995 and served with the now-defunct Hoyt Lakes Police Department. He's also a pastor, having joined the St. Louis County Law Enforcement Chaplaincy in 2012, according to the organization's website.
Greene has one prior impaired driving conviction on his record from 2001.
Judge Robert Friday ordered an investigation of his background ahead of sentencing Feb. 28.