Officer Who Shot Daunte Wright Meant to Use Taser, Police

The authorities said, a police officer who shot and killed a driver during a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, on Sunday afternoon meant to deploy her Taser instead of her gun. Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon said he believes the female officer who has been identified by authorities as Kim Potter intended to deploy her stun gun when she “accidentally” shot 20-year-old Daunte Wright. A preliminary report issued by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner on Monday evening said that Wright’s death was a homicide, as he died from a gunshot wound to the chest.

The incident was reported to have happened around 2 p.m. local time, when officers initiated a stop for an expired registration tag on a vehicle in the city in Minnesota’s Hennepin County, about 10 miles northwest of Minneapolis. During the traffic stop, the officers determined that the driver of the vehicle had an outstanding gross misdemeanor warrant, according to Gannon.

“At one point as officers were attempting to take the driver into custody, the driver reentered the vehicle,” the police chief said in a statement Sunday. “One officer discharged their firearm, striking the driver. The car traveled several blocks before crashing into another vehicle. The passengers in the other car were not injured, according to Gannon.

Officers and medical personnel “attempted life-saving measures” on Wright, the police chief said, but he died at the scene. A female passenger who was also in the vehicle with Wright sustained non-life-threatening injuries during the crash, according to Gannon. She was transported to North Memorial Health Hospital in Robbinsdale, a few miles south of Brooklyn Center.

During Monday’s press conference, the Brooklyn Center Police Department released body camera footage of the fatal encounter. Gannon said Potter can be heard in the video warning Wright and her fellow officers that she will be deploying her Taser.

“However, the officer drew their handgun instead of their Taser,” the police chief told reporters. “It is my belief that the officer had the intention to deploy their Taser, but instead shot Mr. Wright with a single bullet. This appears to me, from what I viewed and the officer’s reaction and distress immediately after, that this was an accidental discharge that resulted in the tragic death of Mr. Wright.”

Potter can be heard in the video yelling, “Holy s—, I just shot him!”

PHOTO: Evelyn Jarbah kneels as protesters take a moment of silence during a rally outside Brooklyn Center Police Department, a day after Daunte Wright was shot and killed by a police officer, in Brooklyn Center, Minn., April 12, 2021.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating the incident. The agency released a statement on Monday identifying Potter, a 26-year veteran of the Brooklyn Center Police Department, as the officer involved in the deadly shooting.

Potter has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, according to Gannon, who identified her as a “very senior officer.”

A source with knowledge of the investigation told ABC News that Potter was field training another officer at the time of the shooting.

Wright’s mother, Katie Wright, said she was on the phone with him before he was killed.

“I heard scuffling and I heard the police officers say, ‘Daunte, don’t run.’ And then the other officer said, ‘Put the phone down,’ and hung it up,” Katie Wright told reporters on Sunday. “And a minute later, I called and his girlfriend answered — that was the passenger — and said that he’d been shot, and she put [the phone] on the driver’s side and my son was laying there lifeless.”

In a statement to ABC News, Wright’s family described him as a young father who “had a whole life ahead of him.”