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Cops cleared in shooting: Fergus officers justified using force on prisoner

Police officers justifiably used lethal force against a federal prisoner in a shootout Jan.

Police officers justifiably used lethal force against a federal prisoner in a shootout Jan. 30 in a Fergus Falls, Minn., parking lot, the Otter Tail County attorney's office said Monday.

"The results were what we expected," Fergus Falls Police Chief John Wagner said Monday, referring to the state's investigation into the shooting that killed Leslie Stanley Fredrickson, 52.

Two officers who returned fire when Fredrickson shot at them in a Pamida parking lot spent five days on administrative leave, as did an officer who rammed the stolen car Fredrickson was driving, Wagner said.

Authorities said that on Jan. 29 Fredrickson left a Fargo halfway house where he was completing a 6½-year sentence on federal firearm charges. He later checked into a motel near Fergus Falls.

The next morning, Fredrickson took the motel owner hostage but later released her.


Officers spotted Fredrickson driving the motel owner's car, a red Cadillac, about 8 that morning and cornered him in the Pamida parking lot after a brief chase.

A gunbattle ensued and Fredrickson was killed. No one else was injured.

A witness later told police that about an hour before the shooting a red Cadillac was parked outside the home of a person Fredrickson once worked with at the Fergus Falls Post Office.

A police car may have scared off Fredrickson, although police hadn't yet been alerted to watch for the car, Wagner said.

Officers found Fredrickson with two .22-caliber handguns, a revolver and a semi-automatic, which was fired at least once, he said.

Investigators determined Fredrickson purchased the guns from a Fargo man through a newspaper ad.

Although it was illegal for Fredrickson to purchase the guns, the seller broke no laws, Wagner said.

In the mid-1990s, a judge sentenced Fredrickson to two years in prison after he pleaded guilty to false imprisonment.


He later was convicted for being a felon in possession of a firearm when family members found a shotgun in his residence in 1996.

After his release from prison, the Fergus Falls Police Department temporarily placed officers on guard duty around the city's post office.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555

I'm a reporter and a photographer and sometimes I create videos to go with my stories.

I graduated from Minnesota State University Moorhead and in my time with The Forum I have covered a number of beats, from cops and courts to business and education.

I've also written about UFOs, ghosts, dinosaur bones and the planet Pluto.

You may reach me by phone at 701-241-5555, or by email at dolson@forumcomm.com
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