Shooting suspect had long history of violenceby Madeleine Baran, Minnesota Public Radio
North St. Paul, Minn. — Devon Dockery had a long history of domestic abuse, and had previously threatened to kill himself and his wife, according to law enforcement records.
Dockery has been identified in news reports as the suspect in the shooting death of North St. Paul police officer Richard Crittenden on Monday.
Crittenden and a Maplewood police officer struggled with the suspect during a domestic disturbance call, and both Dockery and Crittenden were shot dead. The Maplewood officer received a gunshot wound to her arm.
Court and police records document Dockery's extensive contact with law enforcement.
Stacey Terry, his wife, had filed at least three orders for protection against him over the past nine years. In the first order for protection, dated November 2000, Terry said she had met Dockery in 1995, and had been in a relationship with him since 1999.
In February 2000, Dockery was arrested for allegedly assaulting Terry. He was later found guilty of disorderly conduct and given a 90-day sentence and 1 year of probation.
Terry filed the first order for protection after an incident on Nov. 11, 2000 in her Woodbury apartment. In an affidavit, Terry alleged that Dockery accused her of taking too long to drop off her children at a relative's house.
Terry alleged that Dockery then assaulted her, dragged her into her children's bedroom, and punched her when she attempted to leave. After several hours, Terry said she realized that Dockery had left, and had taken her money and car keys. Terry asked a neighbor to drive her to the hospital, where she was treated for injuries.
In November 2002, Dockery was convicted of terroristic threats.
In April 2003, Terry filed another emergency order for protection against Dockery. In the handwritten affidavit, Terry reported that her husband held a gun to her head and threatened to shoot her and then shoot himself.
"Devon is a ticking time bomb ready to explode," Terry wrote.
Terry told police officers who arrived at the scene that Dockery told her, "I'll kill you right now and save two bullets for myself," according to the police report.
The police interviewed Dockery, who said he briefly borrowed a pellet gun from another man, and had taken the gun into the apartment to look at it. Dockery denied threatening his wife.
In April 2004, a jury found Dockery not guilty on a charge of second-degree assault in connection with the incident, but the jury found him guilty of possession of a firearm by an ineligible person. As a convicted felon, Dockery was barred from possessing firearms.
Dockery was sentenced to five years in state prison. He was incarcerated at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in St. Cloud from June 2004 to October 2008.
Terry filed another order for protection against Dockery in May 2009. In the affidavit, she alleged that Dockery asked her for money to repair a tire on her car.
"He stated if I didn't, he would break me and everything else in my apartment," Terry wrote.
The next day, Terry alleged that Dockery locked her in her bedroom, "stated he will kill me," and told her, "The next time I point a gun at you, I'm gonna use it."
Dockery was arrested on May 18 and on August 26 on charges of violating the order for protection.
North St. Paul Police Chief Tom Lauth said in the last two weeks, police officers responded twice to the same address regarding violations of a protection order. The last call came Sunday, and the previous one was 12 days ago. The suspect wasn't at the residence when officers responded to those incidents.
According to criminal records, Dockery was born in Memphis, Tenn. Police records state that Dockery was unemployed at the time of the August arrest. He had previously worked as a temp in 2003 and at a cleaning company in 2002.
Investigators have yet to confirm the identity of the suspect, or provide details about the shooting.
"All I can say, actually, is that it was chaotic. It happened quickly," said Dave Bjerga, spokesperson for the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. "This was not the first call to this particular apartment in regard to domestic situations. These domestic situations are sometimes the most dangerous for officers to go into, and in this case, that is exactly what happened."
According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, a non-profit that tracks police fatalities, Crittenden is the first Minnesota officer killed by gunfire in the line of duty since Sgt. Gerald Vick was killed in 2005.
Funeral services for Crittenden will be held Friday, Sept. 11 at 11 a.m. at Aldridge Arena in Maplewood. The city of North St. Paul has established a Richard Crittenden Memorial Fund at Anchor Bank Heritage, N.A. in North St. Paul.
- All Things Considered, 09/08/2009, 5:51 p.m.