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Report Finds Trooper Justified In Custer Shooting

September 23, 2011, 4:52 PM by Hailey Higgins

Report Finds Trooper Justified In Custer Shooting
CUSTER, SD - A South Dakota Highway Patrol Trooper has been cleared for using lethal force to kill a Marine earlier this month in Custer.

The Division of Criminal Investigation report says Cody Engen called 9-11 saying he was drunk, had a gun and wanted to kill a law enforcement officer. But in the end, he was the one killed.

Before ramming his pickup into the Custer County Sheriff's office, the DCI found that Engen was driving erratically through town, pointing and shooting a .45-caliber handgun at several bystanders in the early morning hours of September 6.

At one point, Engen attempted to force his way into an apartment on Mt. Rushmore Road. He also tried to get to the Custer County Dispatch, inside the basement of the county courthouse.

During this time, he was in constant contact with police dispatch and said he wanted to kill or be killed by a law enforcement officer.

After breaking into the Sheriff's office with his truck, he barricaded himself inside the office for half an hour. At a quarter to four that morning, Engen walked out of the back door of the sheriff's office and began walking toward Trooper Todd Albertson with gun in hand.

Albertson said he could hear Engen yelling, "Let's get this over with; somebody just shoot me." Albertson ordered Engen to drop his weapon three times, but Engen refused and continued walking toward the trooper.

Albertson fired his rifle 14 times, striking Engen three times in the chest and shoulders. The investigation found that Engen's handgun was empty when he was killed.

The report says Engen had been honorably discharged from the military in May. A doctor diagnosed him with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

At the time of his death, Engen's blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit.

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