ST. PAUL — Steve Sutton-Brown has been identified by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension as the Goodhue County assemblyman who shot dead 24-year-old Fernando Javier Carbajal during a physical altercation in Red Wing, Minnesota last week.
Sutton-Brown, a nearly 20-year law enforcement veteran, fired his pistol from the department and is on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of a BCA investigation. The BCA will submit its findings to the Goodhue County Attorney’s Office for review without recommendation.
An earlier statement from the BCA said the Red Wing Police Department was also investigating.
Carbajal faces two assault charges and one aggravated assault charge in connection with his alleged attack on Sutton-Brown. His next appearance is scheduled for December 21st.
There is no video of the shooting, although a witness recorded the altercation before the shooting, according to the BCA.
According to court documents and the BCA:
Carbajal was driving between 50 and 90 miles per hour when he crashed into a telephone pole near Bay Point Park just before 1 p.m. on November 22, 2022. He exited the vehicle and walked away from the accident.
Sutton-Brown was taking scuba diving training nearby and was the first to arrive at the scene. Shortly after telling headquarters he would be in touch, Sutton-Brown was heard over the radio saying that Carbajal was suicidal. After contact between the pair, a report of gunfire fired was issued by headquarters.
Witnesses told law enforcement they saw Carbajal overthrow the deputy, who is an investigator in the sheriff’s office.
“Because Sutton-Brown was out of training, he did not have his normal array of tools, including less lethal options like an aerosol, baton or taser,” said part of a press release about the incident from the BCA.
Witnesses told law enforcement that Sutton-Brown appeared to have attempted to stun Carbajal before firing his firearm.
“He was screaming and aggressive and had his arms up,” a witness told law enforcement. “She added that it appeared to her that the man (Carbajal) was attempting to challenge the officer to a physical fight,” reads part of the complaint.
Sutton-Brown wasn’t wearing his uniform, but a sweatshirt from the sheriff’s office. His unmarked vehicle also had its emergency lights on.
Sutton-Brown fired three rounds at an unarmed Carbajal, which was hit at least once. After one of the shots, Carbajal fell down but got back up and continued chasing the deputy, a witness told law enforcement.
The interaction lasted about a minute, according to a witness.
“He just kept coming at me,” Sutton-Brown told a Red Wing police sergeant, adding that he injured his foot in a fall. Sutton-Brown suffered a broken foot and was treated at the Mayo Clinic-Red Wing.
Carbajal was transported to the Mayo Clinic-Red Wing and later to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, where he was treated and released into the custody of the Goodhue County Sheriff’s Office the next day.
Carbajal posted $10,000 bail and is no longer in custody. Part of his release conditions include a mental health evaluation.
“When you put it all together, the nature and circumstances of the accused offense, his alleged statements, as well as his actions that day support a finding that the defendant actively attempted suicide or suicide at the hands of a police officer,” Assistant Goodhue County told Das said prosecutor Erin Lousie Kuster in court.
Red Wing Deputy Police Chief Travis Bray responded to the scene and recognized Carbajal from Bray’s days as a school resource officer and football coach at Red Wing High School. Bray assisted in the medical treatment of Carbajal.
“I’m sorry Bray. I didn’t want you to see me like that,” Carbajal told Bray. “I’ve done some really bad stuff, stuff my family wouldn’t be proud of, I’ve really messed up.”
Carbajal was going about 90 mph when he crashed, he told Bray.
Witnesses said Carbajal was driving erratically before the accident.
The BCA seized three shell casings at the crime scene.