Road-rage shooting suspect released
Motorist says he protected his family, alleges undercover cop pulled a gun first
BY DAVE ORRICK and MARY BAUER
Article Last Updated: 06/08/2007 10
09 PM CDT
Martin Scott Treptow walked out of the Anoka County Jail on Friday afternoon and promptly declared his innocence.
"It was self-defense," he said moments after being released without charges in the shooting of an undercover police officer the day before.
Treptow, a 35-year-old former security officer from Coon Rapids with a license to carry a concealed handgun, shot the Robbinsdale officer Thursday afternoon, injuring him, in a vehicle-to-vehicle road-rage shooting near a busy Anoka County intersection.
That officer has told investigators a different story, putting them in a quandary, they acknowledge.
Key to that quandary might be who pulled his gun first, if both actually did.
According to Treptow, it was the officer - who he says never identified himself.
"The other gentleman pulled the weapon on myself and my family," he told reporters. "We're about 3 feet away from each other, and he's pointing the gun at my wife. ... I had to protect my family."
With his two children in the back and his wife in the passenger seat of their SUV, Treptow drew his gun, reached across the lap of his wife, Rebecca, and fired into the undercover officer's car, striking him in each leg and in one arm, he said.
Through a close acquaintance, the police officer declined to comment to local media Thursday evening. Coon Rapids police say his story differs from what Treptow and his wife told investigators, but what's not in dispute is that the officer never fired his weapon. He was treated and released from an area hospital Thursday.
"We are getting two different versions of what happened: the Treptow version and the officer's version, and they are in contradiction," Coon Rapids Deputy Police Chief Timothy Snell said.
Although Robbinsdale police have said the officer was on duty, none of the Treptows were involved in the officer's undercover investigations, police have said.
Citing pending investigations, the officer's safety and state laws that allow police to withhold information about undercover officers, Robbinsdale Police Chief Wayne Shellum refused to release information about the officer, other than to say he's been a sworn officer for four years and has had no disciplinary actions against him.
Without going into details, Shellum appeared to be standing by his guy Friday. "The focus is, this is a road-rage deal, and some guy with his wife and kids decides to end this thing by shooting somebody," he said.
Coon Rapids police and Anoka County prosecutors also refused to release the officer's name.
Prosecutor James Weber said the investigation is continuing, and charges could still be filed.
"There's no indication that he's going to be charged or that he's not going to be charged," Weber said of Treptow. Authorities haven't ruled out charges against the police officer, either.
The shooting occurred Thursday afternoon in Coon Rapids near Foley Boulevard and U.S. 10.
It began with a dispute over driving courtesy. Treptow's family has said the officer was driving aggressively as the two vehicles drove on side roads outside a strip mall along 99th Avenue Northwest. At one point, Treptow honked at the other driver. Treptow declined to "go into details" about what sparked it all, as have Coon Rapids police.
Shots rang out around 2:35 p.m. while both vehicles were stopped in traffic where 99th feeds onto Foley, Snell said. The officer fell out of his car and onto the side of the road, while his car rolled backward across 99th, coming to rest when it hit a pizzeria. Treptow drove a few blocks to a Holiday gas station, where his wife called 911 from her cell phone. Treptow's father, also named Martin Treptow, told the Pioneer Press on Thursday that the couple drove off because they feared the man - who they didn't know was a cop - would fire at them.
Police took both adult Treptows into custody. They released Rebecca but booked Martin in the county jail on suspicion of aggravated assault.
Throughout the morning Friday, prosecutors and investigators with Anoka County and Coon Rapids talked over the case, as prosecutors considered whether to charge Treptow in a criminal complaint that would have required an appearance before a judge to set bail. Snell said Coon Rapids police gave no recommendations regarding charges against anyone involved.
Shortly before 1 p.m., Weber announced authorities were setting Treptow free pending further investigation. He declined to talk about specifics of the case.
The statute of limitations for aggravated assault is three years, although authorities have the ability to publicly clear anyone involved if they want to.
Treptow has no known criminal history in Minnesota beyond minor traffic incidents, according to police and court records.
Staff reporter John Brewer contributed to this report.