Patrol Identifies North Dakota trooper who fatally shot Montana man

September 16, 2021

MANDAN, N.D. (AP) — The North Dakota Highway Patrol on Wednesday identified the trooper who fatally shot a Montana man following a vehicle chase on Interstate 94 west of Mandan earlier this month.

The patrol said Trooper Stephen Mayer killed the lone occupant of the vehicle, 45-year-old Craig Knutson, of Billings, Montana. Authorities have released few details about the incident, although they confirmed that a gun was found in Knutson’s vehicle.

Authorities have said the pursuit on the evening of Sept. 7 began about 7 miles east of Hebron and ended after deputies placed spike strips on the highway and Mayer used his cruiser to push the fleeing vehicle’s rear end sideways, sending it into a spin.

After the suspect vehicle stopped, Mayer saw that Knutson had a gun and told the three deputies at the scene about the weapon before he fired the fatal shot, the patrol said. Police would not say why the trooper fired or why Knutson fled in the first place.

The case is being investigated by the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation. Mayer has been placed on standard administrative leave pending the investigation and a review by the Morton County State’s Attorney.

The patrol said the last fatal shooing involving a trooper was in 2010.