Wamstad: Officers acted reasonably in Pendleton shooting

Wamstad: Officers acted reasonably in Pendleton shooting Click to Enlarge

The actions of Grand Forks law enforcement officers during a May 27 shooting incident in which two people were killed “were objectively reasonable in light of the circumstances.”

That’s according to a legal opinion from Grand Forks States Attorney Haley Wamstad.

Her statement says officers fired their weapons at 41-year-old Salamah Pendleton in Pendleton’s Grand Forks apartment after Pendleton fired at officers on two separate occasions.

Wamstad said, “Pendleton posed a threat of serious physical harm or death to the officers and others” in the building.

Wamstad also said the “situation required officers to make split-second decisions about the amount of force necessary to bring the situation under control.”

She added, “The officers on scene were responsive, calm and used good judgment in their assessment of the situation and the use of force necessary.”

A criminal complaint alleges that Pendleton fired the fatal rounds from an assault rifle that struck 29-year-old Grand Forks Police Officer Cody Holte … and a woman in the apartment, 61-year old Lola Moore.

Pendleton was wounded in the shooting. He is charged with two counts of murder, three counts of attempted murder, and one count each of criminal mischief, terrorizing, and reckless endangerment.

Pendleton’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for August 7.

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Full statement from Wamstad:

The States Attorney’s Office has issued a legal opinion related to the officer involved shooting with Salamah Pendleton in Grand Forks County on May 27, 2020. After a thorough review of the facts and law, the States Attorney’s Office has concluded the actions of the law enforcement officers on scene were objectively reasonable in light of the circumstances.

Law enforcement officers fired their duty weapons at Salamah Pendleton after Salamah Pendleton fired first at law enforcement on two separate occasions. Mr. Pendleton posed a threat of serious physical harm or death to the officers and others within the occupied building. In her opinion, State’s Attorney Wamstad states:

“In an ever-changing and complex field, law enforcement officers are called upon to enforce the law and ensure public safety. The circumstances of this tragic situation required law enforcement officers to make split second decisions about the amount of force necessary to bring the situation under control. The circumstances were tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving. The officers on scene were responsive, calm and used good judgment in their assessment of the situation and the use of force necessary.”

Salamah Pendleton was subsequently apprehended and charged with two counts of Murder, three counts of Attempted Murder, Criminal Mischief, Terrorizing, and Reckless Endangerment. Mr. Pendleton’s charges are pending and he remains in the custody of the Grand Forks County Correctional Center. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for August 7, 2020.



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