Grand jury combines charges against Fitch in murder of Mendota Heights cop, shootout

Brian Fitch

Scott Patrick was shot and killed July 30 during what was supposed to be a routine traffic stop.

The man initially charged in two counties in connection with the July 30 murder of Mendota Heights officer Scott Patrick and the shootout with police after a massive manhunt has been indicted by a multi-county grand jury.

The Dakota County and Ramsey County grand jury charged Brian George Fitch Sr., 39, with one count of first-degree murder for "intentionally shooting and killing a police officer," three counts of first-degree attempted murder for firing at St. Paul officers, and illegal possession of a firearm, according to the Dakota County Attorney's Office

At about 12:20 p.m. July 30, Patrick pulled over a vehicle near the intersection of Dodd Road and Smith Avenue in West St. Paul. The driver of the vehicle shot at Patrick, hitting him in the leg, abdomen and head, according to the Sept. 12 press release. He was pronounced dead at Regions Hospital.

The suspect fled; multiple police departments chased leads around the metro area to track him down.

Several hours later, Fitch was arrested, following a standoff where multiple gunshots were fired at the officers making the arrest. Around the same time, near where Patrick was gunned down, a memorial of candles, flowers and signs of grief and thanks continued to grow during a candlelit vigil for Patrick, who started with the Mendota Heights Police Department in 1995.

Since the officer’s death, a man dutifully kept lit the candles at the memorial, a child raised thousands of dollars for the family through a lemonade stand and strangers donated tens of thousands more to help support his wife and two daughters. Fundraisers benefiting the family are still popping up. 

Patrick's funeral, which drew 5,000 attendees, about 4,000 of whom were law enforcement personnel, was held Aug. 6.

Fitch has a slew of prior convictions on his record, including fleeing an officer and assault.

The charges filed against Fitch shortly after the killing have been combined into one case, which Dakota County will prosecute with the assistance of the Ramsey County Attorney's Office, according to the press release. If convicted, Fitch could face mandatory life in prison without parole for the murder charge, and 20 years for each attempted murder charge.

Fitch is currently jailed at the state prison in Stillwater.

—Kaitlyn Roby

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