South St. Paul Suspect: Four Counts of Attempted Murder

“This was a shootout that was taking place and the officers lives were on-the-line.”

Edgar Linares
July 20, 2018 - 7:12 pm

Courtesy of Dakota County Jail

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The man who used a shotgun to wound two South St. Paul police officers is now facing four counts of attempted murder.

“This was a very scary situation,” said James Backstrom, Dakota County Attorney. “This was a shootout that was taking place and the officers lives were on-the-line.”

On Friday, Dustin Allen Bilderback, 33, appeared in court for the first time since the shooting. He’s charged with two counts of attempted murder first-degree and two counts of intentional attempted murder second-degree.

Bilderback was staying at the Everyday Living group home that houses people with mental health issues. He was on restricted release from the Minnesota Security Hospital in St. Peter, said Backstrom. Records show Bilderback was civilly committed for being mentally ill and dangerous.

The South St Paul officers injured are Todd Waters and Derek Kruse.

Officers were dispatched to Everyday Living on 12th Avenue and Congress Street, initially on a report that Bilderback was missing, he turned up while the officers were there.

by Susie Jones

According to Everyday Living, Bilderback became “aggressive and dangerous” after he learned his lease and his independent living service were being terminated for violating their strict polices.

As police tried to the resolve the problem, Bilderback allegedly grabbed a hidden shotgun from the trunk of his car and opened fire on the officers.

Photo by Susie Jones of Dakota County Sheriff Tim Leslie

“One officer was struck in the shoulder. The other officer was struck in the leg,” said Dakota County Sheriff Tim Leslie on Thursday. Neither injury was life threatening.

Officers returned fire but did not hit Bilderback who later dropped the shotgun.

The group home where Bilderback was staying is one of many across the state of Minnesota and one of more than a hundred “group residential housing agreements” in Dakota County. On Thursday, the Sheriff said there had been 110 calls for service to that group home and 62 so far this year.

“Keep in mind one call is only one call,” said Kelly Harder, Dakota County’s Community Service Director. “It could represent a missing pet. It could represent something that happened when a friend came over to live there. It does not necessarily reflect a severity equal in each call.”

Harder said they have a long standing, positive working relationship with Everyday Living. He says it is unfortunate that an incident like this can overshadow the positive work these group homes do.

“Statistically there are more success to show and to highlight,” said Harder.

Everyday Living said they plan to reach out to Dakota County Human Services and other community officials to determine whether any preventative lessons can be learned from the shooting.