Longtime Mendota Heights officer fatally shot in West St. Paul

Brian George Fitch, Sr.

photos from the scene by Kaitlyn Roby/Review

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The flag at the Holiday Stationstore in West St. Paul was at half-mast Wednesday, hours after a Mendota Heights police officer was fatally shot during a traffic stop in front of the Dodd Road gas station where cops from both cities departments routinely grab coffee.

Officer Scott Patrick, 47, the city's longest-tenured officer, was killed July 30, just after noon during a routine traffic stop near the intersection of Smith Avenue and Dodd Road in West St. Paul.

Officers and medical personnel responded immediately and tried to resuscitate him. He died at Regions Hospital in St. Paul shortly after.

Brian George Fitch, Sr., 39, who is from the areas of South St. Paul and West St. Paul, is suspected of shooting the officer and fleeing from the scene northbound in what police believed to be a green Pontiac Grand-Am with a license plate of SED 283. Fitch has a slew of prior convictions on his record, including fleeing an officer and assault.

"Officer Scott worked here my entire career," Mendota Heights Police Chief Michael Aschenbrener said at a press conference Wednesday evening . "He was a very dedicated police officer; a family man who absolutely adored his children."

Patrick had been with the Mendota Heights Police Department since 1995. He worked mainly during the day as a patrol officer during his storied career with the force. He leaves behind a wife and teenage children, who are requesting privacy at this time, according to Aschenbrener. 

"We all share in this great loss," Mendota Heights Mayor Sandra Krebsbach said, while offering condolences to the family and the police department. "Officer Patrick was a dedicated officer in the city of Mendota Heights for 19 years, and was our most senior officer."

Mike Youness and his wife, Lynn, were in their living room when they heard three gunshots just after noon. After the "bang, bang, bang," he ran outside and saw a police officer lying on the street on his back.

"It was obvious his wounds were fatal," he said. "I feel terrible. It was terrible to see him lying there like that."

He said he saw a woman wearing medical scrubs trying to help him, but it soon became clear there wasn't much that could be done.

“Our sympathies to the family,” Youness added, as his wife sat on their stoop along Ottawa Avenue across the street from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension crew inspecting the area around Patrick’s SUV.

Another man who lives nearby, who wished to remain unnamed, said he heard three gunshots, but didn't realize what had happened until later on in the day.

"I've heard some people say four shots, and some say two, but I'm pretty positive I heard three," he said. "I didn't realize what had completely happened until later on. I heard gunshots, so I stayed away from the window for a while."

Samantha Greengo, the cousin of a Mendota Heights officer who was not involved in the shooting, went towards the site of the shooting. An employee of another Holiday, Greengo heard about a cop being killed in West St. Paul, and raced to the scene to see if she could find out more information.

"I came to see if I could find out any answers," she said, with her phone full of missed calls from worried family members.

Answers came hours later at a press conference, where authorities revealed the name of the victim and their suspect, who remained at large Wednesday night.

A reward for Fitch is being offered. Anyone with information of his whereabouts are encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

Kaitlyn Roby can be reached at 651-748-7815 and kroby@lillienews.com. Follow her at twitter.com/KRobyNews.

Tim Faklis can be reached at 651-748-7814, at tfaklis@lillienews.com, or on Twitter twitter.com/tfaklisnews.

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