The Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association (MPPOA) awarded its top honor of “Police Officer of the Year” to Sergeant Eric Kilian of the Hutchinson Police Department.
Sgt. Kilian has been a police officer for 22 years, serving the cities of Hutchinson and St. Paul during his career. Currently Sgt. Kilian is assigned as a shift supervisor as well as the team leader of the Special Response Team. Sgt. Kilian was awarded this distinction for his bravery, courage and integrity as demonstrated through an occurrence last October in Hutchinson.
On October 25, 2013, Sgt. Kilian responded to a suspicious person call at an apartment building in Hutchinson. He was told that a male was sleeping in the stairway of the complex. Dispatchers advised that the man was lying on a bag on the floor and that he was possibly in possession of a “pipe”.
As Sgt. Kilian approached the man, he immediately reached for the bag lying beneath him and became very aggressive. Due to his belligerent actions, Sgt. Kilian believed that the suspect was likely under the influence of methamphetamine. As Sgt. Kilian began to place the man in handcuffs, he became combative towards Sgt. Kilian and engaged the officer in a physical altercation.
During the struggle, the suspect made numerous attempts to disarm Sgt. Kilian. Knowing he was running out of options, in a split second, Sgt. Kilian was able to discharge his weapon at the suspect’s chest. At this point, the suspect ran down the stairs and out the back door. He collapsed near the rear of the building. Sgt. Kilian retrieved first aid gear from his squad and he and other officers then on the scene, rendered aid until paramedics arrived.
The suspect was transported for medical treatment and has since recovered from his wound. He was charged with attempting to disarm a peace officer. It was confirmed that the suspect was under the influence of methamphetamines and opiates at the time of the incident. Small baggies containing meth were recovered on the ground where he collapsed. At the time of the incident, the suspect had a felony warrant out for his arrest.
Upon conclusion of the criminal investigation by the BCA, the McLeod County Attorney determined that Sgt. Kilian was justified in his use of deadly force. “The incident lasted only three minutes, yet during this time Sgt. Kilian’s astute response during this situation demonstrates that he is a true professional.
He was faced with a very agitated person, determined to disarm him which easily could have resulted in his own death or that of others in the building,” said Dennis Flaherty Executive Director of the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association.
Sgt. Kilian was also honored at Tuesday night’s Hutchinson City Council Meeting.