DULUTH — A Duluth Police Department instructor who coordinates use-of-force training told jurors that Tyler Leibfried, after hearing what he believed to be gunshots coming from the apartment where he was standing outside had a handful of options – including knocking on the door or calling to see if anyone inside needed help.
“Is unloading a gun one of the reasonable options?” prosecutor Aaron Welch asked Sgt. Joel Olejnicak.
“No,” he replied.
Testimony continued Wednesday in the case against Leibfried, a police officer who is facing felony charges related to the shooting of Jared Fyle through the door of his downtown apartment in September 2020. The defense argues that Leibfried heard two bangs as he stood outside the apartment – a noise he believed to be the sound of gunfire, but which turned out to be Fyle using a hatchet to pounding his door shut.
Pressed by defense attorney Paul Engh whether the bangs sounded like gunshots, Olejnicak said they did.
Katie Kosloski, who was dating Fyle at the time of the shooting, testified that she and Fyle had a fight that night. Two neighbors called 911 to report the domestic dispute. Kosloski did too, although she was looking for an escort back to their shared apartment to gather her things and leave for the night.
She followed Officers Leibfried and Cory Lindsholm to the landing below her floor. She heard the heavy oak door slam shut, she said, then the words “shots fired.”
Fyle, having just locked his door, heard someone – not knowing who or why – shouting “shots fired” from the hallway. He fell to the floor of his apartment, he told jurors, before being shot through the door by Leibfried. The bullet hit him in the upper right part of his back.
“That’s when I started screaming – and that’s when more shots came through the door,” said Fyle, who still lives in the same compound. apartments in Kingsley Heights.
He plans to file a civil lawsuit against the Duluth Police Department and the City of Duluth, he said.
Lindsholm, who was second to the scene and was serving as a back-up to Leibfried out of sight of Fyle’s doorstep, said on hearing the bang he thought the other officer had been shot and his own life was at stake. hazard. He didn’t shoot because he had no target, he said.
A handful of Duluth police officers, some retired and others working nights, sat in the back rows of the courtroom in support of Leibfried — some of whom had worked with.