Iron Range officer sentenced for firing shot in confrontation with hunter
Kevin Greene's employment with the Gilbert Police Department has been severed following his conviction, court documents indicate.
DULUTH — A Gilbert police officer will serve three years of supervised probation for firing a shot during an off-duty confrontation with a hunter in September 2020.
Kevin Patrick Greene, 49, of Aurora, received a stay of imposition Monday that would allow his felony conviction to be deemed a misdemeanor if he successfully completes probation.
Greene was convicted by a jury in early January of reckless discharge of a firearm within a municipality, while he was acquitted on a second felony count of making threats a violence. A felony conviction bars licensure as a police officer in Minnesota.
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 Jr., who was legally participating in the Aurora city deer hunt on public property.
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 last month. "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.
Defense attorney Stephen Foertsch contended in a sentencing brief that Carvelli was "at least a contributing aggressor in the encounter" up until Green fired the shot.
"The fact that Mr. Greene intentionally avoided hurting Mr. Carvelli when he fired his weapon, and then fact that Mr. Greene was the only party injured during this altercation mitigate Mr. Greene's culpability," he wrote. "Even when attacked and vulnerable to further bodily harm or worse, Mr. Greene showed restraint and fired his weapon into the ground."
St. Louis County prosecutor Jon Holets painted a different picture.
"Greene was an off-duty police officer who relied on police information to take it upon himself to accost a citizen who was behaving lawfully," he wrote. "He had been drinking — at least two and possibly three beers. He retrieved his firearm, left his own driveway, walked a considerable distance, berated the victim on a public street and got involved in a physical altercation, which he lost. He drew his weapon and fired it at the victim's feet in an attempt to scare him. The shot was fired into pavement on the street, creating the possibility of harming others (victim included) with a ricochet."
Judge Robert Friday adopted a recommendation from an Arrowhead Regional Corrections probation officer in granting the stay of imposition.
The judge ordered Greene to undergo a chemical dependency evaluation, follow any recommendations and submit to random testing. He also prohibited the officer from possessing any firearms and ammunition, among other standard conditions.
While Gilbert police did not previously respond to requests regarding Greene's employment status, a presentence investigation report indicated he would soon be collecting his final paycheck from the city and that he has been working cash jobs in construction while seeking new employment.
Greene, the son of a former Duluth police detective, spent approximately 17 years in policing, including a stint with the now-defunct Hoyt Lakes Police Department. He also began serving as a pastor for the St. Louis County Law Enforcement Chaplaincy in 2012.
He was convicted of impaired driving offenses in 1997 and 2001, according to the presentence report.