Hospital security officer cleared in use of stun gun
ST. CLOUD -- The Stearns County Attorney's Office has determined that no criminal charges will be filed against the St. Cloud Hospital security officer who used a stun gun on a suspect in a fatal shooting at the hospital Oct. 18.A review of the i...
ST. CLOUD - The Stearns County Attorney’s Office has determined that no criminal charges will be filed against the St. Cloud Hospital security officer who used a stun gun on a suspect in a fatal shooting at the hospital Oct. 18.
A review of the investigation showed Ricky Hess Jr. had reason to use a stun gun during an active shooter situation, according to a report from the attorney’s office to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
Hess used his stun gun on Danny Hammond at the St. Cloud Hospital after Hammond shot and killed Aitkin County Deputy Steven Sandberg. Hammond died a short time later. Hammond was a suspect in an Aitkin County assault case and had been under the watch of Sandberg after Hammond overdosed on drugs in an apparent attempt at suicide.
Hammond shot Sandberg with the officer’s gun. The report said Hess was escorting Aitkin County Sgt. Heidi Link to Hammond's room when they learned of the shooting. When they arrived at the room, Hess saw Sandberg on the ground with blood on the floor next to him. Hess later saw Hammond lying on the floor face up, according to the report. Hess told Hammond to roll over onto his stomach, but Hammond did not comply.
The report said Hess forced Hammond onto his stomach and ordered him to put his hands behind his back. When Hess saw Hammond attempting to roll back over, Hess used his stun gun.
Once Hess and Link were able to put handcuffs on Hammond, they pulled him into the hallway where they noticed he was blue and was not breathing, the release said.
According to the report, “Hammond’s autopsy indicated he died of probably sudden cardiac death as a likely result of previous existing heart disease, additional heart issues caused by his drug overdose, the physical altercation with Deputy Sandberg and the use of the Taser.”
The report also said that Hess was justified to use force so he or Link would be able to arrest and subdue Hammond. The attorney added that stun guns are typically nonlethal and that there is no way Hess could have known Hammond's medical condition.
The attorney's report also said that because Hammond killed Sandberg, the use of a stun gun was “more than clearly reasonable than it otherwise might have been if the arrest had been related to a minor crime.”