Man killed by officer near East Grand Forks in effort to arrest him eluded capture 3 months earlier

Family members on Wednesday identified the man who was shot and killed by law enforcement during an effort to arrest him in the East Grand Forks area.

Lucas P. Gilbertson, 42, was the man an officer shot midday Tuesday in Rhinehart Township, said his aunt Jane Gilbertson.

Polk County sheriff’s deputies and East Grand Forks police arrived at the home in the 19100 block of SW. 445th Avenue with a warrant to arrest him, the Sheriff’s Office said.

However, he left the home, then returned and was followed by officers, the Sheriff’s Office statement continued.

Moments later, an officer shot the man, who was taken by ambulance to Altru Hospital in Grand Forks, where he died, a spokesperson for the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) confirmed.

Neither the Sheriff’s Office nor the BCA specified which agency employs the officer who shot the man or what prompted the officer to shoot.

The BCA is leading the investigation into whether the officer’s actions were justified.

Jane Gilbertson told the Star Tribune that her nephew was shot at his mother’s house.

She said a surgeon at Altru told the family that he was shot once in front and three times in the back.

“They need to be held to account,” Jane Gilbertson said in reference to law enforcement.

She said Lucas Gilbertson “never hurt anybody. He was a drug addict. He was struggling. He had demons … but he didn’t deserve this.”

Court records show he has been the subject of numerous arrest warrants for missing hearings stemming from a felony theft case. During one attempt in October to arrest Gilbertson at his home, he threw furniture at Sheriff James Tadman and escaped capture.

A warrant was issued for his arrest in July he failed to appear for a court hearing concerning charges filed in June 2022 in Polk County District Court alleging a string of felonies involving thefts and burglary.

The charges spell out five burglaries during the spring alleging that Gilbertson targeted a shop on farm property, a construction site, a farmstead, the theft of fuel from trucks, and the theft of a deer stand. A law enforcement search of his home turned up several of the stolen items.

On Oct. 10, the Sheriff’s Office went to his home in the 4500 block of W. Center Street with a warrant after he had missed a string of hearings connected to the theft case, according to a prosecution filing seeking to have the court forfeit his bail.

Gilbertson “threw a large mirror down the stairs and struck Sheriff James Tadman in the head with it,” the prosecution document read. “[Gilbertson] also kicked a large dresser down the stairs and almost struck Sheriff Tadman with it. The defendant then broke out and escaped through a second-story window.”

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