A deputy of the Pine County Sheriff’s Office shot and killed a suspect, Anthony Michael Legato, 25, of Oak Park, during a confrontation on Interstate 35 on Friday, Oct. 9. The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has also identified the deputy involved in the incident. Deputy Joshua Pepin has been with the Pine County Sheriff’s Office for five years.
According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the incident happened in the northbound lanes of Interstate 35 near mile marker 180 and the Mora exit.
The BCA reports that Pine County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a 911 call on Friday around 1:45 p.m. from the victim of an alleged domestic incident at the Grand Casino Hinckley. On their way to the casino, the deputies spotted the suspect’s vehicle and began to pursue it.
Legato entered I-35 the wrong way, driving south in the northbound lane. The vehicle then stopped. Shortly after this, Legato pulled to the side of the highway and exited his vehicle.
Deputy Pepin was driving northbound on I-35 and pulled over immediately south of Legato’s vehicle. As Pepin exited his squad, Legato then reentered his vehicle and began to pull out into oncoming traffic. The BCA states that Pepin fired his weapon at some point during the confrontation, and struck Legato. Portions of the incident were captured on body cameras and squad cameras.
Legato’s vehicle rolled forward, crashing into an oncoming vehicle and then came to a stop in the median.
Deputies provided immediate medical assistance, but EMTs pronounced Legato deceased at the scene. He was taken to the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office for identification and autopsy.
The driver of the other vehicle was not seriously injured. No officers were injured during the incident. The victim of the alleged domestic incident was not injured.
The Minnesota State Patrol and a DNR conservation officer assisted at the scene. A portion of I-35 was closed until the area was cleared.
Pepin is currently on standard administrative leave.
The BCA reported that it is now investigating the officer-involved shooting. The BCA will evaluate both body camera and squad camera footage of the incident and interview incident participants and witnesses. When the investigation is complete, the BCA will provide its findings without recommendation to the Pine County Attorney’s Office for review.