Family questions use of deadly force after MN school teacher fatally shot by police

MANKATO--Shakopee Public Schools identified teacher Chase Anthony Tuseth as the man fatally shot by a police officer during a struggle at a Mankato hotel early Saturday morning.The school system issued a statement Monday describing Tuseth, 33, wh...

Chase Tuseth, a 33-year-old biology teacher from Eden Prairie, was fatally shot by a Mankato police officer during a struggle at the Country Inn & Suites on Highway 22 about 4 a.m. Sat., Dec. 31. (photo via LinkedIn)

MANKATO-Shakopee Public Schools identified teacher Chase Anthony Tuseth as the man fatally shot by a police officer during a struggle at a Mankato hotel early Saturday morning.

The school system issued a statement Monday describing Tuseth, 33, who lived in Chanhassen, as "an outstanding teacher who had a passion for working with at-risk students."

"He was always looking for better ways to engage and connect with his students," Tokata Learning Center Principal Eric Serbus said in the statement. "His warm smile, innovative teaching and desire to help students will be greatly missed."

Tuseth taught science and physical education at the Tokata Learning Center and was a Minnesota State University, Mankato graduate.

Tuseth's mother, Mickie Tuseth of Stewartville - wasn't informed of her son's death until 12 hours after he was killed, Tuseth's uncle, Mark Liptrap of Spokane, Wash., said.
"The big question everybody's asking is 'Why didn't they Taser him?' " Liptrap told the Mankato Free Press newspaper. "... This is so uncharacteristic of him."


But authorities said Monday in a release that they did use a Taser on Tuseth first.

According to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the Mankato Department of Public Safety received a 911 call at 4:02 a.m. on New Year's Eve Day morning from an employee at the Country Inn & Suites in Mankato who reported that Tuseth was behind the counter in the lobby and was throwing items.

According to the BCA's preliminary investigation, Mankato police officer Gary Schnorenberg, a 30-year veteran of the department, responded and encountered Tuseth in a hallway near the pool. After several verbal commands were not obeyed, Schnorenberg deployed his Taser successfully. During the attempt to handcuff Tuseth, he broke free and began hitting and kicking Schnorenberg, said the BCA report.

During the struggle, Schnorenberg fired his weapon, striking Tuseth. Resuscitation efforts at the scene were unsuccessful.
Schnorenberg was treated for his injuries at Mayo Clinic Health System and released

Liptrap said he doesn't dispute the possibility that his nephew was creating a disturbance and was intoxicated, suggesting that he had been out with friends in downtown Mankato and took a cab or got a ride with friends to the hotel, because Tuseth's car was later found in downtown Mankato. But he questions the necessity of using deadly force, he told the Mankato newspaper.

While Tuseth had a history of drinking - sometimes heavily when with friends - he didn't have a history of violence, his uncle said.

Tuseth was hired by Shakopee Public Schools in August 2016, according to the Shakopee Public Schools release, and previously worked at the Integrated Arts Academy in Chaska and Watershed High School in Minneapolis.

Tuseth graduated from Minnesota State University in 2008 with a bachelor's degree in ecology and biology. He was a high jumper on MSU's track team.
He taught English in Korea before obtaining his Minnesota teaching license in 2012 and earned a master's degree in secondary-education/life science from St. Mary's University in Minneapolis in 2015. He was also in the University of Minnesota's leadership development program for educational administrators at the time of his death, according to Shakopee Public Schools.


"From our very first introduction, I immediately knew he would be an excellent addition to our district teaching staff and that he had the 'it factor' to become an exceptional administrator," Shakopee Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Rod Thompson said. "We will miss his ambition, spirit, passion and dedication to our students and families."

Counselors will be available to students and staff at Tokata Learning Center when students return from winter break. The release encouraged students, families, teachers and staff to "communicate their feelings" and reach out for support.

The Forum News Service contributed to this report.

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