Austin, MN (KROC-AM News) - The initial investigation into a fatal police shooting in Austin indicates a veteran Austin Police Officer opened fire after he was struck by a window air conditioner unit thrown by a man involved in a violent domestic disturbance.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension says Officer Chad Norman, a member of the Austin Police Department for 14 years, was among the law officers that responded to a 911 call Wednesday afternoon concerning a domestic disturbance involving a man with a knife. It began when a woman visiting 41-year-old Ronald Dean Johnson at his home in the 1000 block of 8th Avenue Southwest in Austin informed him she was leaving. The BCA report says that’s when Johnson produced a knife and forced the woman to go to the upper level of the home.

When Austin Police officers and Mower County Sheriff’s deputies arrived at the residence, Johnson threatened to cut the woman if the officers attempted to approach the pair. When the woman screamed, the officers began climbing the stairs and Johnson responded by throwing objects down on them. Investigators say Officer Norman fired his gun after he was hit by the air conditioner and a glass bottle, resulting in a fatal gunshot wound to Johnson’s head.

He was transported to the Mayo Clinic Health System Hospital in Austin, and was then airlifted to St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, where he later died. Officer Norman was also brought to the Austin Hospital, where he was treated and released. The woman involved in the incident was not stabbed, but she was assaulted before police arrived at the scene.

None of the other officers fired their weapons and Officer Norman has been placed on paid administrative leave until the investigation is completed. Once the BCA finishes its work, the investigative reports will be reviewed by the Olmsted County Attorney’s Office.

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