Couple shot to death by officers in Eden Prairie wouldn't drop knife, officials say

Categories: Crime, Police
212shooting.jpg
Matthew Serbus (left) and Dawn Pfister (right)
The couple shot to death last week in Eden Prairie following a high-speed chase involving a stolen car were gunned down because they wouldn't put down a knife, authorities say.

THE BACKSTORY: Man and woman fatally shot following police chase on Hwy 212

After the heisted red Saab crashed on Highway 212 near Dell Road in Eden Prairie, Matthew Serbus, 36, emerged from the vehicle with a knife, the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension says. Despite "repeated commands from officers to drop the weapon," he refused to put it down and was shot. His alleged partner in crime, 34-year-old Dawn Pfister, then picked up the knife. She was also shot.

Asked to provide further details, Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Jill Oliveira told us she couldn't because the investigation "is still active and ongoing."

Serbus has an extensive criminal record, including convictions for disorderly conduct, check forgery, theft, drugs, and assault, among others. Pfister doesn't appear to have a criminal record in Minnesota, but at the time of their deaths, both were wanted in Rochester in connection with an attempted car theft last month.

The four officers involved in the the fatal shooting have also been identified. They are:

-- Sergeant Brady Juell, a 17-year veteran of the Chaska Police Department.
-- Officer Trent Wurtz, a 14-year veteran of the Chaska Police Department.
-- Trooper Mark Lund, a 14-year veteran of the Minnesota State Patrol.
-- Corporal Nathan Mueller, a 9-year veteran of the Carver County Sheriff's Department.

All four were placed on standard administrative leave while the investigation into the incident is ongoing.

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at arupar@citypages.com.



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283 comments
DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Cowardly Homicide by Cop

ron.fresquez
ron.fresquez topcommenter

Is this an example of someone bringing a knife to a gun fight? Not the sharpest knife in the drawer and NEVER a good idea. 

MrGasso
MrGasso

Two less dopers! Good Police Work!

Jason Thor Carle
Jason Thor Carle

4 cops with guns, one guy with a knife. Who felt more threatened? One of those 4 cops could not have used a taser while the other 3 kept their weapons drawn?

Josh Cook
Josh Cook

Daren, You judging all police for the action of a few. Hating the police because of a select few that May or may not over step isn't basis for hating us all. That's like hating all Cathlic Preists for the actions of a select few that molest children, or school teachers for the select few that have abused their power. You can't judge or hate based on a select fee in each profession. We all have to look at the big picture here. But people are quick to judge and point fingers at the police, were are human just like everyone else in this country. We all have family's just like you.

fauxbo
fauxbo

When is it necessary for police to engage in high speed chases that risk the lives of innocent people? Was this action necessary because the guy was driving a stolen car and rear ended someone?

JustTheFacts
JustTheFacts

If he was just standing there, not moving, and facing officers who had their guns drawn, then this is MURDER.  And if the woman just picked up the knife and made no movement towards the officers, then it is a DOUBLE MURDER


If they both lunged at the cops, then it could be suicide by cop and I feel for the officers.

Daren L. MN
Daren L. MN

Josh Cook, some people are woken up by the militarized police state in the middle of the night with weapons drawn on them in their own homes. Some homeowners have had family pets murdered - all on suspicions and tips that were incorrect (or even at the wrong home). The point is that there was no direct threat. Is this 2000 A.D.?? Do we want a bunch of Dark Judges running our streets??

Daren L. MN
Daren L. MN

Josh, some people are woken up by the militarized police state in the middle of the night with weapons drawn on them in their own homes. Some homeowners have had family pets murdered - all on suspicions and tips that were incorrect (or even at the wrong home). The point is that there was no direct threat. Is this 2000 A.D.?? Do we want a bunch of Dark Judges running our streets??

Daren L. MN
Daren L. MN

A knife? Shoot their kneecaps like real men. Murdering women is just weak/pathetic. Who Watches The Watchmen??

Sean Spaeth
Sean Spaeth

Tiffany-None of it has to do with the shooting. I''m just asking why a mom of 2 two would rather be hanging out with this guy rather than being at home with her kids. Tell ya what, you go out and do the jobs that police officers have to do on a daily basis and you tell me how many times you felt your life was in danger. From high speed chases, to domestic violence calls, to gang fights, to the language barrier, to shots fired, to drunk drivers, to warrant arrests, to foot chases etc. You can't tell me that Serbus and Pfister were model citizens. Why they got shot is still being investigated. I'm not going to make an opinion on something that hasn't been completely explained. Assumptions and finger pointing gets nowhere.

Wesley Anderson
Wesley Anderson

I loved my Saab. ignition was where the stick should have been. That was awesome. and shit.

Mark Burk
Mark Burk

The difference between pigs and punks keeps getting smaller

Mike Vetter
Mike Vetter

You're the most sensible person I've seen here by far. Facts will come out that make half of the people here (on which side I'm not sure) disagree with what they posted earlier.

Mike Vetter
Mike Vetter

What about when cops break the law? Or is that impossible? If it's possible, it matters. The dead people were far from high quality people, but if the police broke the law shouldn't we care? The law says if you do or sell meth and steal cars you get a lengthy prison term. It doesn't say you will be shot by a cop on the side of the road. Of the officer panicked and shot someone he shouldn't have I'll offer forgiveness and understanding, but their acts shouldn't be scripted our condoned if it turns out they were wrong. Fact is, that we'll know more soon so sarong all cops are good or bad is downright stupid this until then. I don't know what happened so it makes sense not to let biases come into play so early regardless of whereb they lead you now

Mike Vetter
Mike Vetter

Did they endangered multiple lives during the chase? Absolutely. Were they a threat when they were shot is the question that matters. How threatened would you feel with a pistol, ten feet, and armed friends surrounding you?

Mike Vetter
Mike Vetter

Gunned down or killed in self defense. I'll go with gunned down, but those are your words not mine.

Mike Vetter
Mike Vetter

If you're a police officer, or want to be, your lack of professionalism is astounding. Should you really be talking about a case when the officers and department won't or can't? People died and no explanation and many details are not available; but they will be. So why not wait until they are? Studies or not, (we all know being stabbed inflicts severe damage), you should wait until the facts are out before calling people names for wondering why 2 people, who certainly sucked at life, were killed when logic tells us that two people with one knife were not that threatening to multiple police officers with guns. In fact, they died mighty quick and caused little harm for being a threat that required shooting. You very well might be right, but have the decency and common sense to wait for all of the details before commenting as you have. Otherwise you make the idea that a blue shield of silence protects police who violate their duties absolutely believable, if not true. I have no general hated for police, and appreciate the work they do, but corrupt people exist in all professions and even other officers should wait until they have enough facts to know what they're taking about before speaking so publicly. My apologies if you're not involved with law enforcement. If you aren't then professionalism is not an issue.

FritterSpeelburn
FritterSpeelburn

I will weep extra tonight at how fucking stupid so many of the posters are here.

Police are authorized to overcome resistance not meet it.  A knife is a lethal weapon.  A person can close the distance of 21 feet in the time it takes to aim and fire a weapon.  It will take more than three shots to depressurize the circulatory system to stop the perpetrators motion.

There ain't no trick shots.  There ain't no warning shots.  Police shoot to stop the threat and most of you have no clue what the law OR the physics of that is. 

That said, I do think the police stopped way too close to the car at the end of the chase.  There was no one for a hundred yards ahead and they would not have needed to shoot if they were just a few yards back.  Not sure how many pursuits these officer had previously (I've been in 14) but the video shows some pretty over zealous "closing in" on the disable car.

It's a legal shoot but didn't need to happen with better tactical decisions. - my two cents.


Eva Chavarria Hunter
Eva Chavarria Hunter

Still doesn't add up for the two so-called criminals said to be threatening the cops with the very same knife. Both according to police simultaneously went on the attack with the same one knife after the police warned them to put it down. Again according to the police, when they didn't put it down, they were shot to death as both the woman and man were at least 20 yards or more away from the officers when they died. Sorry, but the officers story over the 'criminals' one knife in use doesn't add up!

Amelia White
Amelia White

This shit forsnt add up. So the female picks up the knife that just got her bf killed? Gtfoh

Cory Templin
Cory Templin

how about tasing them instead of ending two lives over a knife.

Rebecca Rolek Godfrey
Rebecca Rolek Godfrey

A friend of mine was very close to the man that was shot. I talked with his wife about this, because she was defending them. I admit, I was a little "irked" that she was making them out to he innocent victims... I understand the pain of tragically losing a friend, but I saw this as a choice these two made. I saw this as an instance of - the two "criminals" who made their choices. They chose to flee, they chose to get themselves into this situation. Had they stopped and pulled over, this would be no big story. The choices they made ultimately led to this outcome. We all make choices everyday that could end in an unexpected way. That being said... Not many people out there who make poor decisions are ALL bad. Did these two make poor decisions? Yes they did. Did those decisions ULTIMATELY lead to this outcome, yes they did. Does that make them horrible people who deserve to die? Not necessarily...We have to take into account here that not one of us was there. Very few of us, if any, actually knew these people. You can watch videos of the incident all day and listen to he said, she said accounts of what happened. But none of us was there to witness it with our own eyes. So you don't know the truth of what happened... Regardless of what the suspects did, they are people. Was it stupid to run from police then exit the car with a weapon? Yes. But was it reason to KILL someone? Depends on the situation. In this particular situation, it does not sound as if he were acting in an aggressive manner. Police are trained to shoot to kill in instances where lives are in IMMEDIATE danger. Someone holding a knife and refusing to drop it is NOT an immediate threat to life. Appropriate action would be shoot to injure or tazer, not shoot to kill. Now, if he were aggressive and charged police, yes, SHOOT TO KILL! Only time and investigation will tell. But I am compelled to remind you all that it could have been you with that bullet in your chest. It could have been you, or your sister, your husband best friend, your mother or your child! It could have been you who maybe --fell in with the wrong crowd, made the decision to "try this drug" at a party, then got hooked. It could have been you who had little to no parental guidance, or who didn't have the resources that you needed to give you the opportunity to get the best out of life. I don't know their life story, and I don't pretend to. I am not saying any of these scenarios applies to either of them...just to clarify. The point is it could have been you if your life had followed a path that led to addiction, multiple offenses and ultimately laying on a snow covered highway with a bullet in your chest. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone....Say they deserved to die... That's your right.... Problem is, when you make a statement that serious about something you don't know anything about (face it, you don't know ANYTHING about what REALLY happened you weren't there) you are in the wrong....

Marcus Skallman
Marcus Skallman

Wait for all the facts before you spout off a bunch of uneducated nonsense.

Marcus Skallman
Marcus Skallman

Until we know the exact distance between the knife and the closest police officer, we don't know anything. I feel pity for all of you low-life pieces of sh!t who immediately absolve the cops of any wrong-doing. It could have been handled MUCH better if there was enough distance to use non-lethal force.

Heather Bogie
Heather Bogie

Tasers don't always stop people, especially if they were on drugs. And you have to be pretty close. It would have only taken them seconds to charge the cops & kill or injure them. Then we'd all be sitting here saying what terrible people they were. But since they were reckless, stole a car, stole other things, almost killed other people in a car and but then got killed before they could harm anyone else or steal anything else, we should cut them a break. It's an unfortunate situation no doubt but they certainly weren't making wise decisions & there are consequences to those actions.

Whitney Schnabel
Whitney Schnabel

Amy Sundby Jeanchaiyaphum they our the lives if everyone on that freeway in danger. It's not as trivial and speeding and a knife, the cops had it right.

Naomi Williamson
Naomi Williamson

Andrew, at the point the police shot and killed these two people, the car was stopped and they were out of it. Neither they nor their car were any longer presenting a serious risk to anyone. Six officers had their guns trained on these two and could have disabled them without killing them. That's what the calmer people on this chain are trying to point out. We have a right not to be deprived of our lives on the whim of a pissed off, out of control police officer who prefers to kill than to arrest.

Randall Mcaleese
Randall Mcaleese

I don't see the damn problem they didn't want to listen after a chase putting others in danger and had a deadly weapon. Sounds messed up but police did the job in my eyes correct and guess what they kept tax dollars going to a repeat offender, but hey who doesn't want to keep paying for places and people that keep going into the same situation.

quantumworld
quantumworld

They had slammed into a wall at. 80 plus mph. Dazed and disoriented. Officers more than 20 feet away. Taxer them if they do not follow dictates. Shooting multiple times ? Police are not judge, jury and executioner unless they had a gun. America has due process and this has been grossly violated. Patrolman Mark Lund used his car once to run over a turkey intentionally. He then got out and snapped its neck. Sounds like an anger problem to me.

sbzeezee
sbzeezee

@MrGasso two less dopers? what if your mom/girlfriend/sister/brother/dad/uncle/etc would have done this and you a 4 part firing squad started shooting simultaneously at them?  yeah, they were stupid for causing problems, and they made one HELL of a mistake, but this wasn't a huge fbi manhunt, or America's most wanted type of thing........they shouldn't have to lose their LIVES? maybe they could have shot the guy and girl in their arm/leg, or somewhere where they could have sat in prison....NOTHING would give the right to 4 officers to just point and keep shooting.....they clearly MEANT to kill. An officer is allowed to shoot if threatened with a weapon, but most officers think that means 'aim to kill'

I would hope that an officer would be a trained shooter, and a trained shooter could make an accurate shot with 1 to 2 bullets......most of these situations you come to find out that each officer unloads 10+ rounds.....WHY?


Take a look at yourself.........maybe one day I'll be saying:

"HOORAY! One less opinionative moron that thinks his crap doesn't stink" 


at least 'dopers' could quit/detox and suffer in jail....you, my friend will have to live with the fact that people can't stand you because you think you are better than everyone else

Lalas71
Lalas71

@MrGasso  Because they made the mistake of getting into drugs means they deserved to die?!? Pretty sad excuse for a human being you are.

sbzeezee
sbzeezee

and you are correct, but you, as an officer- would you have to just point and keep shooting, or could you essentially take 1 or 2 good NON fatal shots........ and actually cuff and book them? I understand when in a panic its easy to shoot if threatened, but you are TRAINED to be able to keep your cool and shoot responsibly. A good cop would NEVER stand back and just rely on his/her gun over a knife... shoot them down, and make them pay for their crimes..... accidental death happens a lot, but at least an officer could prove that they only shot a couple times at their legs, arms, etc......... A good cop would take a risk to save a life. If that couple detoxed in prison and you were able to say "yeah, I made sure they would become clean and pay their debt to society for their wrongs" wouldn't that be a hell of a lot more rewqarding..... maybe they would have even gone so far to say "that's the officer that saved my life....he made me realize all the wrong I was doing"   

TruDat
TruDat

@fauxbo Reading is not your strong point, is it? K*N*I*F*E : a cutting blade, often used as a weapon!

_Joe_
_Joe_

Why stop there?  Why cripple someone over this?  They really should have shot them in their third finger on their left hands, but only enough to take the fingernail off.  That would sting like a sonovabitch and probably resolve the situation.

All of you fucking idiots saying shoot them here, or shoot them there know nothing about ballistic trajectory and have likely never fired a pistol.


Stop watching so much TV.

_Joe_
_Joe_

This just in:  Presentation of new facts and information has ability to alter perception and belief.


Well.. unless you're christian or republican that is.  If you are, then by golly you stick to your original assessment no matter what.

jolene75
jolene75

I agree with you. I met matt in Jail due to me having a DWI and we started writing . He was a very talented, caring individual who was smart and wanted more in life. Yes, addiction is a hard one to overcome as well as wanting to get the proper help for. It's not easy to learn how to live in the sober world. Matt and I would write a letter a week and sometimes more. I got to know a sober great guy who had knowledge in atmospheric levels, musical talent, who seen beauty in this cruel and ugly world. He wanted to live a better life. I kept in touch with matt for a while and seen him becoming a true beauty in sobriety. He climb towers and loved what he was doing. Then before long i noticed things started crashing down for him. Yeah maybe he slipped in recovery, I don't know for sure. I do feel that maybe he was stuck in a place that he wanted to leave and thought that it would be better just to leave, by taking the keys at the dealership. Then to be charged with theft of motor vehicle probably brought him back to the sense of I really don't want to spend the rest of My life in prison, He fled to Colorado and hid, sure.... maybe, what some of us  would do til they got in their right minds to be ready to deal with what i caused. Came back to MN and it got even worse. I still can't believe that he is GONE. I don't know the real story of what it was like in that car the last few moments. I don't know what went thru their heads when he decided to take the keys. I do feel that it wasn't him in his true sober beauty. It was a choice and addiction got the best.They were both too young to die. It's a sad day that  i will never forget. I don't think that yeah a knife to multiple gun shot wounds weigh out but I knew Matt in his sober life and It's still a shock to see that it all came crashing down and now all i can see is him laying on the HWY dead. I would like for you to look at the whole picture. Yeah we have backgrounds and we can change our futures with the proper help and new decision making. Some of us aren't that strong. Help another who may be having a hard time dealing with their addiction. We can't save everyone but we would be proud of ourselves for showing another that we care... I miss you MATT... Love Jolene...

FritterSpeelburn
FritterSpeelburn

trouble is, it's hard to find a volunteer to walk up an get stabbed.  how do you propose to "disable" the guy with the knife?

henk.tobias0
henk.tobias0 topcommenter

@TruDat @fauxbo  Funny, you accuse the commenter of poor reading comprehension while obviously not comprehending their comment. Fauxbo was commenting on the Chase itself, not how it ended. Believe it or not the fact that police engage in these extremely dangerous and often unnecessary chases is controversial. Do you understand?

sbzeezee
sbzeezee

@_Joe_ actually sounds like you have never fired a weapon.....shooting someone in the knee is still a great risk to the person, but at least its not 4 cops shooting simultaneously like a firing squad. there shouldn't be a ballistics problem if there is only one cop shooting a person in the knee, unless they are near some type of bullet deflecting material, or near a busy road/public crowd. sounds like if 4 officers all shot, then they didn't care about harm to the public.....

kurt124
kurt124 topcommenter

@_Joe_ Moron Joe.   So your a Democrat that judges republican and christians.   


This Just in:  Abortion is murder.  But you don't care about that scientific fact because your a democrat.  

_Joe_
_Joe_

@kurt124

Are you off your meds?  What the fuck are you talking about?

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