Charges: Man drew loaded gun within inches of St. Paul officer’s face; no one injured in ensuing struggle

A domestic-related call at a St. Paul apartment on Tuesday took a turn for the worse for a police officer when a man drew a loaded handgun within inches of the officer’s face, according to prosecutors.

Allen Denzell Oliver-Hall (Courtesy of Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office)

At one point, as St. Paul officer Andy Heroux fought for the gun, he felt it was going to be fired. Heroux “turned his head and closed his eyes anticipating the gunshot,” but the gun did not fire, according to a criminal complaint filed Thursday.

Allen Denzell Oliver-Hall, 27, of St. Paul, was charged with second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon.

During the struggle, Heroux managed to grab the gun from Oliver-Hall and throw it across the living room floor. The officer held him down until another officer arrived and he was put in handcuffs.

The gun had a round in the chamber, according to the criminal complaint.

APARTMENT BUILDING

Heroux was sent to the apartment building at 1553 Timberlake Road — just west of Interstate 35E and south of Wheelock Parkway — around 3:20 p.m. on what was initially reported to involve a custody exchange.

Oliver-Hall’s girlfriend, identified in the complaint as KA, said that earlier in the day he yelled and damaged things at her apartment. She said he was drunk and barricaded the front door with a couch. She and her son left.

KA told Heroux she had returned to the apartment to gather more belongings, but could not get in because her keys were inside. KA and her aunt asked Heroux to “help get KA back into her apartment, to make sure Oliver-Hall was OK, and to make sure it was safe for her to return,” the complaint read.

Oliver-Hall let Heroux inside and said he did not live there and was visiting KA. His eyes were bloodshot and watery and his breath smelled of alcohol, leading Heroux to believe he was still drunk. Oliver-Hall asked Heroux to leave several times so he could gather his stuff, but the officer said he could not do that since KA wanted him to stay in the apartment with him. Heroux tried to encourage Oliver-Hall to leave with him for KA’s safety. He agreed.

Oliver-Hall walked over to a couch, said he wasn’t going back to jail and sat down. Heroux assured him he wasn’t looking to take him to jail, that he just wanted to give him a ride somewhere, the complaint states.

Oliver-Hall repeatedly said he would leave if Heroux turned his back for a few seconds, leading the officer to believe he was trying to distract him and conceal something, the complaint says. Heroux asked dispatch for another squad to respond.

LIFE-THREATENING SITUATION, ACCORDING TO COMPLAINT

Heroux then saw the back end of a handgun sticking out between Oliver-Hall’s legs.

“Officer Heroux realized he was in a life-threatening situation, and he decided to grab Oliver-Hall while ordering Oliver-Hall to keep his hands up,” the complaint read.

Oliver-Hall grabbed the handgun and drew it to within inches of Heroux’s face. He grabbed the gun’s barrel, then tackled Oliver-Hall. They landed on the couch.

Oliver-Hall had his finger near the gun’s trigger and yelled, “The gun is loaded!” according to the complaint. Heroux felt the gun was about to be fired and believed “Oliver-Hall would shoot him if he got control of it,” the complaint read.

Oliver-Hall refused to let the gun go when ordered to do so, according to the complaint. Heroux was able to wrest the gun from him and throw it. Oliver-Hall tried to get to his feet, but Heroux used his body weight to hold him down on the couch until the second officer arrived.

Oliver-Hall has a prior felony conviction for residential burglary out of Illinois that may make him ineligible to possess firearms, the complaint states. He was sentenced on that charge shortly after turning 18 years of age.

Oliver-Hall remained at the Ramsey County Jail on Thursday in lieu of $200,000 bail. He is scheduled to make a first court appearance on the charge Friday morning.

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