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Officers involved in Cottage Grove shooting identified

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension released the names of the four Washington County police officers involved in a shooting in Cottage Grove Wednesday that left a St. Paul Park man dead and another man wounded.

Cottage Grove officer Matt Foucalt, 28, and Woodbury officers Chris Donahoe, 36, Jeff Gort, 49, and Chris Ployhart, 38, fired on Jeffrey Lee Clausen, 33, after he repeatedly ignored the officers' commands during a traffic stop that authorities said was part of a felony weapons investigation.

Clausen died at the scene from his injuries. The four officers were placed on paid administrative leave following the incident, which officials said is standard procedure.

A Minnesota Department of Public Safety spokesman said Thursday it was not known if Clausen had a weapon when officers shot at him as he exited the passenger side of a vehicle stopped on Hadley Avenue, just north of Belden Boulevard at around 11 p.m. Wednesday. The BCA is investigating the incident.

The driver of the vehicle, Tiffany Deserea Merta, 27, of St. Paul Park, was arrested at the scene before shots were fired. A third passenger was injured during the gunfire. His identity has not been released.

The four officers are part of the Washington County Special Response team that is made up of 31 officers from nine Washington County law enforcement agencies.

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